Sox bullpen finding its identity

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Sox bullpen finding its identity

BOSTON With three perfect innings in Saturdays 4-1 win over the Indians, the Red Sox bullpen continues to be impressive.

Andrew Miller, Vicente Padilla and Alfredo Aceves each pitched one inning after Felix Doubront held the Indians to one run on three hits. Aceves picked up his seventh save.

Since May 1, Sox relievers have posted a 1.66 ERA, giving up 10 earned runs over 54 13 innings in 11 games. Even more impressive, three of those runs belong to outfielder Darnell McDonald, who pitched the final inning of the 17-inning May 7 marathon loss to the Orioles.

Miller was the first reliever out of the pen on Saturday. In five outings spanning five scoreless innings since being activated from the disabled list May 6, Miller has given up just two hits with no walks five strikeouts. Saturday was his career-high third straight day of pitching. He has earned holds in consecutive outings for the first time in his career. He needed just 10 pitches (seven strikes) to get through the seventh.

You still wonder when you go to the bullpen, but Andrew Miller has been fabulous, Bobby Valentine said. He continued his streak of throwing strikes with quality pitches.

I'm enjoying it," Miller said. "It's easy to say that when you're having success. Right now I'm liking it. It's fun to come in in these situationsThe expectation to pitch is fun, and so far it's been great."

Padilla and Aceves still have hefty ERAs of 5.40 and 6.14, respectively. Much of Padillas numbers can be attributed to his one-third of an inning April 21 against the Yankees, when he gave up five earned runs. In his five outings in May, spanning six innings, he has a 1.50 ERA. Since that April 21 outing, he has allowed just one earned run in 7 23 innings over eight appearances for a 1.17 ERA.

Aceves, likewise, has settled into his role. He has pitched three consecutive days, picking up saves in the last two. Since being charged with a blown save and loss to the Yankees in that April 21 game when he gave up five runs without recording an out, Aceves has appeared in nine games, giving up two earned runs over 11 23 innings for a 1.54 ERA. In that span, he has recorded five of his seven saves.

Its really fun out there, Aceves said of the Sox bullpen. I like it.

Big Papi's Papi was taken by surprise at retirement announcement

Big Papi's Papi was taken by surprise at retirement announcement

BOSTON - David Ortiz may be masterful in the clutch and one of the more charitable athletes in the city, but much like anyone else, Big Papi doesn’t always inform his own Papi of news right away -- even if he plans to announce it to the general public.

“He actually didn’t tell me [that he planned to announce his retirement],” Enrique Ortiz, David’s father, said through a Red Sox’ translator on Saturday before the next-to-last regular-season game. “I was in the Dominican Republic when he announced it in the states.

While Enrique would explain -- humbly -- how proud he was of his son, he’s not so sure announcing his retirement before the season was the correct move.

“If I was [in America], I would have told him not to announce his retirement,” the elder Ortiz explained, “just because there’s so many things that can happen in a season. Or you might have a change of heart after the season.

“If I were here I would have told him to stay neutral so his options were more open. So I wouldn’t have told him to retire.”

Although dad wasn’t on board with his son’s announcement, he’s done what any good parent does -- bite their tongue and let things play out.

“I haven’t told him anything about why he's retiring because I know it’s coming from him and it’s his decision,” Enrique said. “But when I look back to 2013, I remember coming here and I see him with what looks like two cats on his feet. And I’m like ‘What happened to my boy? Did he get into an accident or something?’ And what he told me was, ‘This is how you son is making this money, doing all of this stuff before a game.’ So [him retiring] is not a surprise to me.”

Saturday's Red Sox-Blue Jays lineups: E-Rod on mound, Bogaerts back to 2-hole

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Saturday's Red Sox-Blue Jays lineups: E-Rod on mound, Bogaerts back to 2-hole

The Red Sox (93-67) look to close in on the No. 2 seed in the A.L. playoffs and home-field advantage in the Division Series with the Cleveland Indians (92-67) with a victory over the Toronto Blue Jays tonight at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox send left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (3-7, 4.68 ERA) to the mound against left-hander J.A. Happ (20-4, 3.20). Rodriguez is expected to pitch either Game 3 or 4 of the Division Series against the Indians next week.

If both teams finish with 94 wins, the Red Sox hold the tiebreaker over the Indians, based on Boston winning the season series, 4-2. The Indians may have to play a makeup game Monday with the Detroit Tigers.

The Jays are a game behind the Baltimore Orioles for the top A.L. wild-card spot and hold a half-game lead over the Detroit Tigers for the second wild-card spot. 

Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts moves back to his customary No. 2 spot in the batting order after hitting sixth Friday night. Right-handed hitting Aaron Hill is at third base and Christian Vazquez catches for Boston.

There will be the second of three ceremonies this weekend to honor retiring Red Sox DH David Ortiz before the game.  

The lineups:

RED SOX
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Chris Young LF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Aaron Hill 3B
Christian Vazquez C
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Eduardo Rodriguez LHP

BLUE JAYS
Devon Travis 2B
Josh Donaldson 3B
Edwin Encarnacion 1B
Jose Bautista DH
Russell Martin C
Troy Tulowitzki SS
Melvin Upton LF
Kevin Pillar CF
Ezequiel Carrera RF
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J.A. Happ LHP