It takes five relievers, but Red Sox bullpen comes through


It takes five relievers, but Red Sox bullpen comes through

BOSTON It was getting to be nail-biting time, with shades of the Red Sox last home game beginning to creep in. A sizable lead late in the game with the opposing team chipping away.

The Red Sox held on, though, for the 11-6 win, getting their record back to .500, at 11-11. Clay Buchholz earned the win, improving his record to 3-1 and slightly lowering his ERA from 8.87 to 8.69.

If there was any cause for concern, though, perhaps it was the need to use five relievers to cover the final 2 13 innings after Buchholzs departure. Facing the team with the worst offense in the American League, the good news is the Sox bullpen did not allow a run.

Junichi Tazawa relieved Buchholz. He faced three batters, but couldnt record an out, giving up a hit to Yoenis Cespedes and hitting Seth Smith (who struck out in his four other plate appearances), loading the bases when Anthony Recker reached on Nick Puntos error.

With the bases loaded, Tazawa was replaced by Vicente Padilla, who pitched one-third of an inning, striking out Daric Barton, looking at a 93-mph fastball to end the seventh.

Scott Atchison started the eighth. He faced four batters, recording one out, giving up two hits and a walk with a strikeout. He was replaced by Franklin Morales, who faced one batter, getting Josh Reddick to ground into a double play to end the inning.

Although it was not a save situation, Alfredo Aceves entered for the ninth. He struck out Cespedes and Smith before giving up a double off the wall in left-center to Recker before getting Barton to pop out to Punto, giving the Sox the win.

Since the bullpen imploded in the Sox last home game -- turning an eight-run lead into a 15-9 loss to the Yankees, when six relievers combined to allow 14 runs in three innings the bullpen has showed remarkable improvement. In the eight games since, it has posted an ERA of 0.94, allowing just two earned runs in 19 13 innings.

Manager Bobby Valentine was not concerned about the pens usage in this game, with a day off coming up and moderate use over the last few games.

Alfredo likes to work and a good day to get him some regular work, Valentine said. Regular works good for him. We have an off-day Thursday. If this was in the middle of a real long stretch, it probably was not a good thing. But, its not the worst thing in the world, thats for sure.

Still, sure outs from the pen are not the worst thing in the world, either.

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Never say never?

While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.

CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season. 

For the full interview with Martinez, click here.

Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired. 

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

Chris Sale on leaving White Sox: 'Time for both sides to do something different, I guess'

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.

Chris Sale.

The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.

But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.

“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.

“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”

He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.

He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.

But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.

“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”