The Yoan Moncada Era seems to be on the immediate horizon.

During his pregame media briefing, John Farrell insinuated the Red Sox are strongly considering calling up the organization’s top prospect when the major league rosters expand.

Yoan Moncada

Yoan Moncada

The Yoan Moncada Era seems to be on the immediate horizon.

During his pregame media briefing, John Farrell insinuated the Red Sox are strongly considering calling up the organization’s top prospect when the major league rosters expand.

“We’ve talked about Yoan, and not just as a pinch-runner,” Farrell said. “It’s an exciting young player. Extremely talented guy. There’s all positive reviews and evaluations of him. When that major league experience is going to initiate, time with tell that. But in terms of playing the position of third base, yes, that conversation has been had.”

The plan would be to play Moncada at third base, where he has been manning for the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs since earlier this month. The amount of playing time the 21-year-old would get might initially be determined on matchups, with the switch-hitter having significant more success from the left side of the plate (.314 batting average) than the right (.171).

“This is a different scenario if it was July or the first of August, where you’ve got an alternate location to play,” Farrell said. “Minor league season ends, so is there a benefit for him just being here? Yes. Do you weight playing X number of games a week vs. what he could be doing in Pawtucket? Well, that goes away. By all accounts there is nothing but positive by the experience here if that was to happen.”

Moncada entered Wednesday hitting .295 with a .935 OPS in 44 games with Portland.

The call-up might be a similar situation to when Xander Bogaerts was recalled in 2013 after playing just two weeks of third base in the minor leagues.

“The one thing for those who have been around this team for a number of years, teams that have had success have always had an injection of young players late in the season that have helped carry the team to the postseason,” Farrell said. “I think Yoan would be in a similar category for when Pedey [Dustin Pedroia] and Jake [Jacoby Ellsbury] came to the big leagues. When Bogey came to the big leagues. And [Andrew] Benintendi is obviously already here. I wouldn’t separate him out from that comparison at all. In fact, he’s a direct comparison.”

Farrell added regarding the energy boost a player like Moncada might bring at this point in the season.

“There’s a newness element to it,” the manager said. “You’ve got likely above-average speed. You’ve got athleticism. You’ve got the unknown across the field of how does a certain team attack a given guy, so does that give the upper-hand to the young position player? In the cases we’ve talked about, it has been advantageous to us, or beneficial to the young player. I don’t want to say they’re overlooked, but they find a way to contribute in a meaningful role. Without saying it’s a definite, there’s a lot going for it.”

The Red Sox have been struggling at third base, with both Travis Shaw and Aaron Hill slumping badly in August. Shaw, who struck out four times Tuesday night, is hitting .167 with a .542 OPS this month, while Hill has a .208 average and .594 OPS during the span.

For more on the idea of Moncada adding a spark to the Red Sox’ third base position, click here to read John Tomase’s column.

Blog Author: 
Rob Bradford

Fresh off a 7-4 road trip, the Red Sox expected to do better than 3-3 on this homestand, but now they’re hoping to avoid a 2-4 swing through Fenway Park when they face the Rays in Wednesday afternoon’s series finale.

Steven Wright

Steven Wright

Fresh off a 7-4 road trip, the Red Sox expected to do better than 3-3 on this homestand, but now they’re hoping to avoid a 2-4 swing through Fenway Park when they face the Rays in Wednesday afternoon’s series finale.

The Sox dropped a rough 4-3 decision on Tuesday night when Drew Pomeranz and Clay Buchholz allowed three runs on two homers between the seventh and eighth.

The Sox look to get back on the winning track with their regular lineup in this matchup of knuckleballer Steven Wright vs. Rays left-hander Drew Smyly.

Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Sandy Leon C
Chris Young LF
Aaron Hill 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

In the finale of a three-game series against the Rays, Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright will start on the mound opposite southpaw Drew Smyly.

Wright is 13-6 with a 3.18 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. He is enjoying an All-Star season, but he got roughed up in his first start since returning from a shoulder injury. The 32-year-old let up five runs on seven hits in six innings of work in a 6-3 loss to the Royals on Friday. He walked three batters and struck out just one for the first time this season.

“I was a little antsy — too much adrenaline that first inning,” Wright said. “The walks killed me. [Royals first baseman Eric] Hosmer gets one that gets up in the air and it gets out, and right there, it’s three runs. If I would have been able to hold it to that, it would’ve been good, but to give up the other home run, start off a five-run spot in the first, that’s a tough deficit to overcome for any offense.”

Wednesday’s game will mark the first time in his four-year career that Wright will face the Rays.

Smyly, 27, sits at 6-11 with a 4.80 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. He may have a losing record, but he is 4-0 in his last seven starts. Most recently, the University of Arkansas product gave up two earned runs on three hits in six innings in a 5-4 loss to the Astros on Friday. He struck out eight and walked two in the no-decision.

Smyly wasn’t sharp in the first inning, allowing two runs (one earned), but he settled down to pitch well for the remainder of his outing.

“Drew didn’t have the best first inning,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “We didn’t help him out. Uncharacteristic play, allowed a couple of runs. But Drew at the same time wasn’t very sharp. And then he dialed it up pretty good.”

In his five-year career, Smyly has totaled a 3-1 record and 1.48 ERA in nine outings against the Red Sox. He last faced Boston on April 19 of this season in a 3-0 Rays victory. Smyly threw eight scoreless innings, allowing only one hit and two walks in the appearance.

Rays vs. Wright (RHP)

Brad Miller is 1-for-4 with 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 walks and 1 strikeout.

Bobby Wilson is 1-for-3 with 1 strikeout.

Logan Morrison is 1-for-2.

Nick Franklin is 0-for-1.

No other batters have faced Wright.

Red Sox vs. Smyly (LHP)

Dustin Pedroia (16 plate appearances): .125 AVG/.176 OBP/.125 SLG, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts

Mookie Betts (15): .333/.333/.600, 1 double, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 4 strikeouts

Xander Bogaerts (15): .200/.250/.333, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

David Ortiz (14): .357/.438/.643, 1 double, 1 home run, 2 RBIs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts

Jackie Bradley Jr. (9): .111/.111/.111, 4 strikeouts

Travis Shaw (9): .111/.111/.222, 1 double, 6 strikeouts

Brock Holt (7): .143/.250/.143, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts

Hanley Ramirez is 0-for-4 with 1 strikeout

Chris Young is 1-for-4 with 1 home run, 1 RBI, 2 walks and 2 strikeouts.

Blog Author: 
Nicholas Frazier

This time, it was Clay Buchholz’s turn.

For months, the Red Sox have searched for a reliable arm to pitch the eighth inning and bridge the divide to closer Craig Kimbrel. And for months, applicants have failed.

Koji Uehara got hurt. Junichi Tazawa flamed out. Brad Ziegler walked too many lefties. Matt Barnes and Robbie Ross have intermittently struggled with command.

Yoan Moncada's time draws near as third base becomes a problem spot for Red Sox. (Gary A.</p>
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Drew Pomeranz

Drew Pomeranz

Don’t let the Red Sox’ 3-3 record when he’s on the mound fool you, Drew Pomeranz put together a solid month of August.

After a rocky start to his Red Sox career, Pomeranz has settled in nicely, allowing a pair of runs three times, one run twice and three runs on one occasion this month. In other words, he gave the Red Sox a chance to win all six of his starts.

The latest decent effort — save for his last pitch — came on Tuesday. One out away from closing the seventh with a 3-1 lead, Pomeranz instead allowed a two-run homer to Luke Maile and ended up taking a no-decision the disappointing 4-3 loss.

“I feel like I’ve done pretty well,” Pomeranz said. “But there’s certain points in the game, like tonight, that I can improve on and give us a better chance to win. And that’s what I need to do and what I need to get better at.”

If there’s a disturbing trend, it’s that the southpaw has fallen victim to an inning that lets the game slip from his grasp.

On Tuesday, it was a hanging breaking ball to Maile — whom he had already struck out twice — that he blasted for a two-run shot to knot things up in the seventh inning. The start prior, it was a game-tying double at the hands of the less-than-stellar-hitting Mikie Mahtook — who has since been optioned to Triple-A.

“It’s a tough way to lose,” Pomeranz said. “I was pitching so well, it just really sucks sometimes when that one pitch comes back to bite you.”

Forgettable innings aside, if there is anything lacking from Pomeranz’ starts, it’s run support. During his six August starts, the Red Sox averaged a mere 2.83 runs per game, never amassing more than four runs. Even still, it has been a collaborative effort that has led to the seemingly-incessant dropping of close games.

Moving forward, valid concern has been raised about how long Pomeranz can continue to go deep into games as a starter. Formerly a reliever, the 27-year-old has already tossed 153 innings, nearly 60 more than his 2012 career high of 96 2/3.

Blog Author: 
Logan Mullen
Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz (right) can't even watch as Evan Longoria rounds hte bases following his game-winning homer on Tuesday. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz (right) can’t even watch as Evan Longoria rounds hte bases following his game-winning homer on Tuesday. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

This time, it was Clay Buchholz’s turn.

For months, the Red Sox have searched for a reliable arm to pitch the eighth inning and bridge the divide to closer Craig Kimbrel. And for months, applicants have failed.

Koji Uehara got hurt. Junichi Tazawa flamed out. Brad Ziegler walked too many lefties. Matt Barnes and Robbie Ross have intermittently struggled with command.

On Tuesday, with Ziegler sent home because of illness, manager John Farrell handed the ball to Buchholz in the eighth inning of a 3-3 game against the Rays. Buchholz had pitched well recently as a starter and returned to the pen hoping to nail down this most vexing inning.

One mislocated fastball to Evan Longoria later, Buchholz had failed in his audition, too.

Longoria’s massive home run over everything in left lifted the Rays to a 4-3 victory that denied the Red Sox an opportunity to pull within a game of the Blue Jays in the American League East. It was just another crushing late-innings loss from a bullpen that has accounted for far too many of them.

“You can’t let one of their big sticks beat you,” Buchholz said, “and I did.”

Ahead in the count 1-2 after spotting a pair of pitches low and away on the outside corner, Buchholz attempted to go up and away with a fastball. It instead tailed back over the heart of the plate, and Longoria murdered it, smashing it an estimated 434 feet deep into the night.

“It was a fastball, trying to throw it up and away and I pulled it more inner third, and that’s his spot where he hits the ball a long way,” Buchholz said. “He didn’t miss it. I was going to go with the changeup after that, but obviously didn’t get to it.

“You never want to give up home runs to lose the lead. The way our offense has been swinging the bat, I think we were pretty confident we had a run in us in the ninth. It didn’t happen. I guess, it’s hindsight now, but I’d probably throw another changeup in that position.”

And so now the Red Sox go back to the drawing board, searching in vain for the arm that will get them to the ninth unscathed. Uehara could return as soon as Labor Day in San Diego. Otherwise, there’s also Joe Kelly blowing hitters away at Triple-A Pawtucket.

“It comes down to execution of pitches,” Farrell said. “Yeah, it’s difficult when you’ve got a lead going into the last couple of innings. You’re looking to bridge it to Kimbrel, and those are tough ones. You know, we’re putting ourselves in a position to close games out, and yet we’ve found ourselves a pitch or two from finishing off the job.”

Blog Author: 
John Tomase

The eighth inning remains a major problem for the Red Sox.

On a night when the Red Sox offense required Drew Pomeranz to produce a solid start, the lefty answered the call.