Epstein: Sox clubhouse reports 'exaggerated'

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Epstein: Sox clubhouse reports 'exaggerated'

Theo Epstein said that while some reports about the Red Sox' clubhouse behavior at the end of the year "is accurate", some is "an exaggeration."

"This was not a team-wide, there were not team-wide indulgences. There was not team-wide apathy," Epstein told reporters in individual interviews after his introductory press conference as Cubs' president of Baseball Operations. His remarks were reported by Alex Speier of WEEI.com.

"There were some things that happened that should never happen in a big-league clubhouse, and ultimately, Im the person whos responsible . . . This has almost been a bit of a witch hunt in recent weeks. Its what happens when you dont make the playoffs in these types of circumstances. I feel bad for many of the Red Sox players, who I know were professional, worked really hard, cared about each other and cared about the organization.

In other highlights . . .

Epstein said he "probably" would have stayed in Boston for the final year of his contract if ownership had retained Terry Francona as manager. But Francona's option wasn't picked up, and Epstein -- knowing 2012 would be his final year no matter what -- felt uncomfortable leading the search for a new manager, since he knew he would only work with him for one season.

At Ben Cherington's press conference later in the day, Larry Lucchino responded to Epstein's comment.

He said he asked owners John Henry and Tom Werner not to offer him a contract extension as general manager.

He also said Werner and Henry were willing to keep him in the organization in virtually any role he wanted.

"John and Tom were kind enough at some point late in the summer to tell me that they wanted me to stay with the Red Sox, to stay with Fenway Sports Group in any capacity I could imagine," said Epstein. "I could tailor my role or do what I wanted.

"It meant a lot to me. I was really appreciative. But the more that I looked at it, the more that I realized that if youre not leading the baseball operation, if youve been a GM and go into a situation where you have some sort of hybrid role, or youre a special assistant or you get more involved in the business side, or more involved in soccer, youre essentially doing the same job but getting in the way a little bit more."

Read the entire story here.

Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

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Weird umpire replay mistake helps Red Sox to record-tying 20 Ks

New York’s mistake helped the Red Sox, and they weren’t playing the Yankees.

The Red Sox struck out 20 in a game for the third time in franchise history on Thursday night, and they were able to do so only after MLB’s replay team — based in Manhattan — gave Craig Kimbrel an extra batter to strike out in the ninth inning.

A 6-2 win over the Rangers featured 16 strikeouts for Red Sox pitching heading into the top of the ninth at Fenway Park. Kimbrel came on for a non-save situation because he had five days off previously.

There’s always that outside chance for a four-strikeout inning, and it happened. Even for a four-strikeout inning, however, this was bizarre.

The first batter, lefthanded hitting Nomar Mazara, swung and missed at a back-foot breaking ball for strike 3 — a literal back-foot breaking ball, because it hit him in that foot after he whiffed on the pitch.

On a swing and a miss with a pitch that hits the batter, the ball should be dead. He should not have been able to reach first base. But the umpires didn’t catch the ball hitting Mazara, and instead saw it as a wild pitch. 

Sox manager John Farrell asked for a review and the umpires went for one, but came back empty-handed. The crew was told, erroneously, that the play could not be looked at and the batter was awarded first base.

“It was just a swinging strike three, ball that go away and he obviously reached first base,” crew chief Alfonso Marquez told pool reporter Tim Britton of the Providence Journal. “The only thing that I can tell you, and the only thing I will say is, this was a replay issue. New York will come out with a statement.”

You could say it worked out just fine. Kimbrel went on to strike out the next three, and got the Sox to 20 Ks.

Kimbrel and Tim Wakefield are the only Red Sox pitchers to fan four batters in a single inning. Wakefield did it in the ninth inning on Aug. 10, 1999. 

Kimbrel did it once before as well, when he was with the Braves on Sept. 26, 2012.

No one has struck out five in a major league inning, although Kimbrel has as good a chance as anyone.

“The guy strikes out the world,” Matt Barnes said. “It’s ridiculous. … His fastball is seemingly unhittable. Complement that with the breaking ball he’s got, which comes right off that same plane, when he’s commanding it like he is, the numbers kind of speak for themselves. It’s kind of ridiculous. It’s fun to watch.”

The Sox have struck out 20 in a nine-inning game three times since 1913. Roger Clemens' two 20-strikeout games are the other two.

Red Sox win 4th straight behind stellar outing from Pomeranz, 6-2

Red Sox win 4th straight behind stellar outing from Pomeranz, 6-2

BOSTON - Drew Pomeranz pitched six strong innings and tied his career high with 11 strikeouts to lift the Boston Red Sox to a 6-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.

Xander Bogaerts and Deven Marrero hit their first home runs of the season helping Boston to their fourth straight win.

Pomeranz (4-3) made it as far as six innings for the third time this season and beat Texas for the first time in nine career outings.

Elvis Andrus homered and Nomar Mazara had two hits and an RBI for Texas, which has lost four of five overall and has lost 15 of 21 on the road.

Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland had RBI singles in the first inning as Boston got to Rangers pitcher Nick Martinez (1-3) early.