Jenks at a loss to explain struggles

191542.jpg

Jenks at a loss to explain struggles

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - Bobby Jenks stood up at his locker and addressed the media with brutal honesty.

He had just given up two earned runs in one inning, blown a save, and picked up his second loss of the season. Jenks lay his frustrations on the line.

I dont even know what to say right now, he said. Im going out there, I feel terrific. All my stuff is there, just the results arent. I dont know what to make of it.

The Boston Red Sox had a 4-3 lead over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night when Jenks entered the game in the seventh inning. They had been 9-0 this season when leading after six innings. The Mariners, on the other hand, were 1-12 when trailing after six. That all changed when the Mariners scored a pair of runs off two doubles, a single, and a walk off Jenks to take a deciding 5-4 lead.

After starting the season with four hitless outings, Jenks (1-2, 8.64 ERA) is left searching for answers that are hard to come by.

It seems like every time Im going out there right now, everythings just seeming to find a hole or flare in somewhere, he said. They are good hitters, but the way Im feeling right now, it shouldnt be happening.

So how does the pitcher, who has earned 173 saves over his career, find a way out of this situation? For Jenks, the answer to that question isnt difficult at all.

Its just the competitor in you, he told CSNNE.com. Going out there, obviously you arent thinking, Im going to go out there and give up two leadoff singles or doubles or whatever. Just that competitiveness thats inside you, thats what fuels me.

Jenks feels mentally strong. His confidence, regardless of how many hits he gives up, is not wavering. He looks ahead to the next pitch rather than getting psyched out by the last one.

Im out there if I get a guy on, Im getting a double play that next pitch, he said. Mentally, Im there. Im not thinking bad things.

Seven years in the Majors has taught Jenks the importance of staying focused and cool under pressure. He doesnt give himself any rah-rah pep talks on the mound. He finds it is more beneficial to take a step back and assess the situation.

In those moments you dont really want to psyche yourself up, he explained. You want to slow the game down. When Tek comes out there, he wants to get your breath under your control, starting thinking clearly, making smart pitches. Thats where that all comes into play, through experience.

Like Jenks himself, Jason Varitek believes the pitcher will turn his outings around.

We need Bobby, and Bobbys stuff is good, Varitek told CSNNE.com. Hes good. And hes going to have a lot more outs than hes going to give up runs.

He continued, Weve got his back. I really 100 percent believe that hes been just kind of a product of some weird stuff going on. And when those things happen, weve just got to slow the game down and the do the things we have to do to make sure were ok. He could have really let that game get away, and he didnt.

Jenks will continue to review game film and analyze his pitches. He has a sense of urgency to get better now so that the Red Sox can enjoy victory later on in the season.

Said Jenks, I got some work to do obviously for numbers-wise, but when we win this stuff, were going to look back and not remember April.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcameratonba

Brian Johnson: 'Awesome feeling' after five-hitter vs. Mariners

red_sox_brian_johnson_2_052617.jpg

Brian Johnson: 'Awesome feeling' after five-hitter vs. Mariners

BOSTON - Brian Johnson had quite a turnaround in his second time on Fenway Park's mound.

Johnson pitched a five-hitter in his first big league appearance at Fenway, and the Boston Red Sox stretched their winning streak to a season-high six games with a 6-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

The 26-year-old left-hander became the first Red Sox pitcher to throw a shutout in his first Fenway start since Pedro Martinez on April 11, 1998. In Johnson's first start in Fenway - his fourth as a professional - he sustained a season-ending facial fracture when he hit by a line drive while pitching for Class A Lowell in 2012.

"The last time I walked off the mound here was 2012 and I made two pitches," Johnson said. "Today I went nine innings. Today was pretty cool."

Johnson left Triple-A for a little over a month last season to get treatment for an anxiety issue.

"Obviously with some stuff that I've been gone through in my career, it's an awesome feeling" he said.

But despite the stellar outing, Johnson was optioned back to Triple-A after the game.

"That's the reality of the game," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We had a chance to congratulate him and yet option him back to Pawtucket, with David Price coming here Monday."

Brought up from the minors for the start, Johnson (2-0) gave up five singles, struck out eight and walked none. His only previous big league starts were at Houston on July 21, 2015, and at Toronto on April 18 this year.

Johnson was helped by a semi-leaping catch by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. at the wall in the sixth, Bradley's diving grab of Nelson Cruz's sinking liner in the ninth and Bradley's game-ending running catch of Kyle Seager's drive.

Xander Bogaerts' RBI single triggered a three-run first inning and Bradley hit a two-run homer in the sixth

Shut out for the second straight day, Seattle has lost seven of eight.

"Their guy threw the ball over the plate. He threw strikes," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "I won't take anything away from what he did, but we're not swinging the bat very well."

Rob Whalen (0-1) gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in his Mariners' debut, his first big league start since Aug. 23 for Atlanta. He is Seattle's 12th starting pitcher, the most in the major leagues.

Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon also had RBI singles in the first, when the Red Sox had two batters hit by pitches, two walks and two runners thrown out on the bases - Dustin Pedroia at third for the first out and Hanley Ramirez at the plate for the last.

Johnson beats Mariners 6-0 for Red Sox' 6th straight win

red_sox_brian_johnson_052617.jpg

Johnson beats Mariners 6-0 for Red Sox' 6th straight win

BOSTON - Brian Johnson pitched a five-hitter in his first big league appearance at Fenway Park, and the Boston Red Sox stretched their winning streak to a season-high six games with a 6-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

Brought up from Triple-A Pawtucket, Johnson (2-0) gave up five singles, struck out eight and walked none. The 26-year-old left-hander's only previous big league starts were at Houston on July 21, 2015, and at Toronto on April 18 this year.

Johnson became the first Red Sox pitcher to throw a shutout in his first Fenway start since Pedro Martinez on April 11, 1998. In Johnson's first start in Fenway - his fourth as a professional - he sustained a season-ending facial fracture when he hit by a line drive while pitching for Class A Lowell in 2012.

Johnson was helped by a semi-leaping catch by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. at the wall in the sixth, Bradley's diving grab of Nelson Cruz's sinking liner in the ninth and Bradley's game-ending running catch of Kyle Seager's drive.

Xander Bogaerts' RBI single triggered a three-run first inning and Bradley hit a two-run homer in the sixth

Shut out for the second straight day, Seattle has lost seven of eight.

Rob Whalen (0-1) gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in his Mariners' debut, his first big league start since Aug. 23 for Atlanta. He is Seattle's 12th starting pitcher, the most in the major leagues.

Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon also had RBI singles in the first, when the Red Sox had two batters hit by pitches, two walks and two runners thrown out on the bases - Dustin Pedroia at third for the first out and Hanley Ramirez at the plate for the last.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: RHPs Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez, both on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, threw bullpen sessions. Hernandez said he "felt really good."... LHP James Paxton (strained forearm) is set to come off the DL and pitch at home Wednesday.

Red Sox: Pedroia was back at second base after getting Friday off to rest his sore left knee and not play on a wet field. He was hit by a pitch on the right forearm his first time up and went 1 for 3. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval, on the DL with a sprained right knee, was expected to play nine innings Saturday night in a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket. Manager John Farrell didn't rule out that he could be activated next week.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Christian Bergman (1-2, 6.30 ERA) gave up 10 runs and 14 hits over four innings in a 10-1 loss Tuesday at Washington.

Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (3-4, 4.35) has gone at least six innings in eight of nine starts.