BOSTON His major league debut went about as well as he could have hoped.In the starting lineup. Playing third base. Batting eighth. His parents in the stands. At Fenway Park.Will Middlebrooks, the Red Sox highly valued prospect, was in la-la land, he said for the first few innings of Wednesday nights game against the As. Then it hit him that this is just another game.So he continued the pace he had been setting with Triple-A Pawtucket.Middlebrooks went 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and a stolen base. The only other batter in the Red Sox lineup with as many as two hits was David Ortiz.The only downer to his night was the final score, as the Sox lost to the As, 4-2.It was unbelievable, Middlebrooks said. Words cant describe it. To come here to Fenway Park and to play with these guys. Its unreal.Middlebrooks walked on four pitches in his first career plate appearance in the second inning, then promptly stole second. He had an infield single in the fifth for his first career hit.Man, I wish I could get a real hit, he thought to himself after the hit. The next one was better.Indeed it was, as he doubled into the right field corner in the seventh, before striking out in the eighth. His batting average stands at .667, with a 1.000 slugging percentage, and .750 on-base percentage.Those numbers wont stay so lofty. But for one night, they sure look good.I wish we could be in there all celebrating and sharing the delight that hed really have if this were a victory, manager Bobby Valentine said. But this was a terrific game. He played nice defense. The walk, the hustle, the stolen base. He was one of the right-handed hitters to go with that cutter to right field.Did a good job.
First impressions of the Boston Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Texas Rangers:
Boston’s offense is always in striking distance.
The Red Sox had an uphill battle from the get-go thanks to David Price’s tough outing.
But somehow they took advantage of Texas’ equally bad pitching—that just happened to be more spread out than Boston’s bad pitching.
If Jackie Bradley Jr. doesn’t earn a walk, or Sandy Leon doesn’t fight tooth and nail for a two-out double in the ninth, that Mookie Betts homerun can’t happen.
The Red Sox need another long outing from Steven Wright.
Obviously they’d prefer a strong performance -- but the knuckler may need to bite the bullet if he’s off Saturday night.
Boston’s bullpen has been used and abused of late, and needs some rest following the Chicago series and a 2.1 inning outing from Price.
Price continues to struggle against the Rangers in his career.
Even when he was able to walk out of the first with just the one run after a bases loaded double play, but couldn’t clamp down with two outs.
The biggest reason he struggled wasn’t his velocity—although it seemed down most of the night—but his location. He left a lot of pitches up in the zone and Texas is not the team you can do that with.
Although Price was bound to have a rough start, this start went worse than anyone could’ve anticipated. To say this was a bad start is putting it nicely.
Texas gave him a nice wake-up call. He still has room to grow.
Matt Barnes had a solid performance.
It wasn’t his best, but given the situation, he did well. First off, the Rangers are a very hot team and swing early in the count. Barnes left the ball up time after times, but only surrendered the one run.
Additionally, he entered the game far earlier than he’s used to -- in the midst of a blowout where his team was on the wrong end. That’s not an easy thing to walk into for a reliever, especially one who’s used to pitching late in tight ballgames.
He gave Boston a chance when the offense started to gain momentum.
Hanley Ramirez’s power continues to show.
Although he’s not hitting at the rate he did to start the year, Ramirez laced another homer against the Rangers Friday night.
This homerun may have been his most impressive, coming on a 1-2 slider away, driving it to straightaway center -- the deepest part of the ballpark.
Boston just saw what they look like when they almost blow games.
All season the talk around the league has been how explosive the Red Sox lineup is.
Well, the Rangers offense is right there with them. The league’s hottest team didn’t waist any time scoring, and had 15 hits before Boston pitching recorded an out in the fifth inning.
Although the Red Sox outslugged Texas late, they saw what a potent offense outside the AL East can do -- and how bad pitching can undo all of that.
Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar
While the Red Sox have inquired about both Julio Teheran and Arodys Vizcaino from the Atlanta Braves, ESPN’s Jim Bowden reported, although Braves GM John Coppolella said he doesn’t see them trading Teheran.
Red Sox have inquired about both Julio Teheran and Arodys Vizcaino from the Atlanta Braves. However, there is no... https://t.co/1mUiafpuAB— Jim Bowden (@JimBowden_ESPN) June 24, 2016
In a Twitter chat with fans, Coppolella didn’t said he didn’t see the Braves parting with Teheran.
I don't see us trading Julio https://t.co/mmlRl0vZoq— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) June 24, 2016
On MLB Network Radio, Bowden, a former major league GM, said Atlanta is interested Red Sox top prospects Yoan Moncada and Andrew Benintendi, who naturally Boston would be very reluctant to part with.
Teheran, a right-handed starter, is 3-7 but with a 2.66 ERA and Vizcaino, a right-handed reliever, is 1-2 with a 2.01 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 31 1/3 innings for the Braves, who are in last place in the National League East.
It won’t take long for Bryce Brentz to get used to the major leagues again. Called up Friday after Chris Young was placed on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, Brentz gets the start in left field as the Red Sox open a three-game series tonight against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas (8:05 p.m.).
Brentz, 27, who was hitting .278 with three homers and 17 RBI at Pawtucket, will make his first major league appearance since 2014 and bat seventh against Texas left-hander Nick Martinez (1-1, 5.14 ERA). David Price starts (8-4, 4.24) starts for Boston.
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Bryce Brentz LF
Travis Shaw 3B
Christian Vazquez C
David Price LHP
Shin-Soo Choo RF
Ian Desmond CF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Ryan Rua LF
Prince Fielder DH
Elvis Andrus SS
Roughned Odor 2B
Jurickson Profar 1B
Bobby Wilson C
Nick Martinez LHP