Breslow 'more confident' this time around

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Breslow 'more confident' this time around

BOSTON The last time Craig Breslow wore a Red Sox uniform he was a 25-year-old lefty attempting to establish himself as a big league ballplayer.
He shuttled back-and-forth from Boston to Pawtucket during the 2006 season and put up a respectable 3.75 ERA in 13 games spanning 12 innings for Boston.
Breslow stayed with the Red Sox organization through the 2007 season and then was waived by both the Sox and the Cleveland Indians within a week during the final week of March in 2008.
Fast forward six years and stints with the Minnesota Twins, Oakland As and Arizona Diamondbacks: Breslow is returning to Boston as an established reliever that has appeared in 60 plus games in each of the last three seasons. In 2010, Breslow appeared in 75 games for the As and actually racked up five saves for Oakland. The lefty wont be dropped into that role in Boston, obviously.
But Breslows place in the bullpen might just allow the Red Sox to move hard-throwing lefty Franklin Morales back into the starting rotation that looked like a natural fit for him.
Its exciting for me. I appreciate the time that I was away, but this is home for me. I want to help the guys. The last time I was here filling in while I was shuffling back and forth between Triple-A. Now Im more confident, more seasoned and more better-prepared for the situations I might find, said Breslow. Hopefully I can contribute as another left-hander out of the bullpen. I can do matchups or pitch multiple innings at a time.
Ive always fought the notion that Im strictly a left-on-left guy and my splits have always been pretty even in my career. If its eating innings or matching up, I feel like I can do both of those.
This season Breslow is actually holding right-handed hitters to a .226 batting average and lefties to a .243 batting average in a similar number of at bats against him.
More importantly hes aware of the constant pressure and potential reward that comes along with wearing the home whites at Fenway. Thats a must for a reliever that can sometimes live and die with that nights results.
For better or for worse this is Boston. Growing up in Connecticut this is a team that Im very familiar with and at times you can be scrutinized, said Breslow. But I dont think theres a better place to be successful.
The 31-year-old also cost the Sox two major league-caliber players in Scott Podsednik and Matt Albers during a July 31 trade deadline deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Breslow made it to Fenway Park prior to game time after flying all the way in from Los Angeles, and actually pitched 1 13 of scoreless relief while striking out a pair of hitters. It didnt ultimately lead to a winning end product for the Sox as they ended a four-game winning streak in a 7-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park.
But theres no mistaking that Breslow can help, and who better to do that than a New England native from Trumbull, Connecticut.
He looked good. Everything was moving. Ive faced him a couple of times, but not enough to know a lot about him, said Jarrod Saltalamacchia. He has really good stuff; a sinker-in to lefties and a changeup as well and a cutter. Everything is working and it was fun to catch that.
In a sign of the times only Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Josh Beckett and Jon Lester remain from that 2006 Sox team that Breslow made his Boston debut with.
Its an almost entirely different group of players in the Sox clubhouse and an altogether different Breslow looking to make it work a second time around.

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Angels

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Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Angels

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 6-2 win over the Angels:

QUOTES

* “He just had very good command the entire night. Stayed ahead in the count [and] pitched to all quadrants of the strike zone. He used his four-seamer in on some powerful right-handed hitters in their lineup.” John Farrell on Rick Porcello’s performance.

* “We needed a win bad and swung the bats well and played good defense. That’s a big win for us.” Rick Porcello said after his win in an interview with NESN.

* “24 hours ago we were probably in a much different place mentally after a ball game like tonight.” Farrell on the win.

“That was probably the first time I sat on off-speed pitches this whole year. I took a chance, took a gamble.” Jackie Bradley Jr. said on his home run.

NOTES

* Rick Porcello completed his first game in a Red Sox uniform in the 6-2 win. The CG was the fifth of his career and his first since he threw three in 2014. The righty has 14 wins, one win shy of tying his career high.

* Xander Bogaerts had his first multi extra-base hit performance of the season since June 11. He’s only done that twice this season. He extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

* David Ortiz logged his 85th RBI of the season in the win and Mookie Betts his 67th. Heading into Friday night’s game, the two were one of five pairs of teammates ranking in the top 20 in RBI. The list includes Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson, Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story, Adam Duvall and Jay Bruce and Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant.

* Dustin Pedroia has now reached base safely in 32 straight games.

STARS

1) Rick Porcello

Porcello had his first complete game in a Red Sox uniform, stopping Boston’s losing skid at four games.

2) Xander Bogaerts

Bogaerts finished with a double and a home run -- the only Boston hitter with multiple hits. He also led the Red Sox with three RBI and scoring twice in the win.

3) Dustin Pedroia

In addition to walking in his first two at-bats, Pedroia had a base hit -- and another walk -- scoring twice on the night.

First impressions of the Red Sox' 6-2 win over the Angels

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First impressions of the Red Sox' 6-2 win over the Angels

First impressions of the Red Sox 6-2 win over Los Angeles:

Rick Porcello is not fazed by his fellow staff members’ struggles.

Although his teammates continue to deal with frustrations on almost a nightly basis, Porcello got the job done and put Boston in a position to win once again.

The second-inning double by Daniel Nava should have been a single, had Jackie Bradley Jr. not misplayed a funny hop. If that hit is a single, the next ground ball is a double -- and the following grounder ends the inning.

One of the most impressive components of his outing was dealing with Cole Kalhoun, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols to finish his outing after already facing them three times on the night.

Xander Bogaerts had his first multi-hit game in a week.

Which in the grand scheme of things isn’t a long time -- but that can feel like a long time given the shortstop’s output this year.

It was also his first multi extra-base hit performance since June 11.

Oddly enough, those are his only two games of that kind this season.

In addition to the win, Porcello did the bullpen a favor.

Not necessarily because the relievers needed rest, but with Ziegler’s last two rough nights, they could use a break.

Although Joe Kelly and Clay Buchholz got warm late, it was more so to keep them fresh for the coming games since they haven’t thrown much.

Additionally, he gave an example for the Red Sox starting rotation that they are in fact capable of going the distance.

Tim Lincecum is barely a shell of what he used to be.

That first inning was hard to watch. The former Cy Young Award-winner threw eight straight balls, and somehow managed to work past. Even his final throw to first base in he opening frame looked like it was going off the mark.

Just hard to watch in general, which made it all the more shocking that the Red Sox couldn’t score against him.

Good for them that he never adjusted, and they took advantage of it in the ensuing innings.

Merloni: ‘Missed opportunities left and right’ for Red Sox

Merloni: ‘Missed opportunities left and right’ for Red Sox

Lou Merloni talks about the Red Sox losing 6 out of the last 7 games and if David Price should have stayed in the game for the 9th inning.