Notes: Reyes having control problems for Sox


Notes: Reyes having control problems for Sox

By SeanMcAdam

CLEVELAND -- Dennys Reyes wasn't assured of a spot on the Red Sox' Opening Day roster until the day before the team left Florida. If he doesn't start pitching better soon, he may be the first player out the door.

Reyes had made three appearances before Tuesday night and though he was unscored upon, he had allowed the leadoff batter to reach in two of them.

For a lefty specialist, utilized mostly to get a key hitter or two, that's a recipe for disaster.

But Wednesday night was a new low for the veteran lefty. He entered the game in the bottom of the sixth, hit two batters and walked a third. Of the 12 pitches he threw, 11 were balls.

"He's not commanding,'' said Fracona. "We're all looking for that two-seam movement down in the zone, get some ground balls. But everything seems like it's up to his arm side. He's missing by a lot. He's just not commanding.''

"I couldn't command anything,'' said Reyes. "I was throwing behind my body. My mechanics were gone today. I take the fault for today's game. They gave me the game with the game close and I let it get away.''

The Sox have at least two other left-handed options at Pawtucket: Rich Hill and Hideki Okajima.

Outfielder Carl Crawford had his second two-hit game in the last three, but what stood out was his aggressive style when he got on base.

Crawford, hitting second for the second straight game, singled off pitcher Mitch Talbot's glove with one out in the second, then stole second.

In the fifth, he walked, stole second and took third on a groundout to the right side. Finally, in the seventh, he had an infield single to short and scored on Adrian Gonzalez's first homer as a member of the Red Sox.

The two steals were his first with the Red Sox. It marked the 57th time in his career that Crawford had a multi-steal game.

"When he gets on,'' said Francona, "he'll start using his legs and hopefully create some havoc. That's what he used to do against us.''

Daisuke Matsuzaka was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs on six hits. Like Josh Beckett the night before, Matsuzaka's night was cut short because of a high pitch count.

In five innings, Matsuzaka threw 96 pitches, nearly matching the 106 thrown over five frames by Beckett Tuesday night in the series opener.

''It took him until about the fifth inning before he was actually throwing more strikes than balls,'' said Francona. "That's just a hard way to pitch successfully. He didn't give up a ton of runs, but again, he's almost at 100 pitches after five. That's a hard way to stay out there.''

The loss was the first in Matsuzaka's career in Cleveland during the regular season. Before Tuesday night, he had made two starts, won them both and held the Indians scoreless over 15 innings.

Adrian Gonzalez hit his first homer as a member of the Sox, a two-run shot in the seventh off Frank Hermann. Gonzalez also had a double. Of the 10 extra-base hits the Sox have collected over the first five games, Gonzalez has three of them . . . Dustin Pedroia was 0-for-3 and saw his hitting streak snapped at four games.

Sean McAdam can be reached at Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Drellich: Pomeranz lessens heat on Dombrowski's trade history

Drellich: Pomeranz lessens heat on Dombrowski's trade history

BOSTON — Drew Pomeranz is helping out Dave Dombrowski’s balance sheet in Boston.

The Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel trades have been awesome — beyond awesome, even. The Tyler Thornburg deal looks like a disaster that, maybe someday, Dombrowski will acknowledge rather than sidestep. The Carson Smith deal has produced, if nothing else, no gain. The Fernando Abad deal has not hurt the Sox, and he’s had some decent moments.

But the Pomeranz trade with the Padres, for just top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza, stood as the most controversial of Dealer Dave’s moves until the past couple months. Now, the Cult of Travis Shaw has slowly made folks forget about Espinoza and the complicated set of circumstances that surrounded that trade.

“Rescind” is something you’re hearing less and less. 

It’s remarkable what a 2.70 ERA in a 40-inning, seven-start stretch can do. Pomeranz is looking like a lot shinier these days, particularly after Tuesday night, when he came back out despite a rain delay of more than an hour in a 9-2 win over the Twins.

From the day that 40-inning stretch began, May 25, through Tuesday, only four qualified starters posted a better ERA in the American League: Corey Kluber (1.29), Jason Vargas (2.27), Jordan Montgomery (2.52) and Mike Pelfrey (2.64).

For comparison: Chris Sale is 10th in that stretch, at 3.54. Rick Porcello has 6.08 ERA in the same time.

Realistically, where the Sox stood last season, they needed Pomeranz. He was healthy enough to throw. That’s the reality everyone who wanted the deal undone always undersold: the back of the rotation was crumbling. 

But that was just one layer of the deal.

The Padres did not provide as much medical information as they should have, and the Sox stuck with Pomeranz despite the opportunity to look elsewhere.

Espinoza hasn’t pitched for a Padres minor league affiliate yet this season. He’s playing catch from flat ground as he comes back from a forearm injury, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported recently. 

Trades, to this observer, are typically best evaluated by reviewing the process behind them — which is to say, by looking back at the information was available at the time the deal was made. And at the time, it was known that the Sox were paying for Pomeranz beyond just last season's second half. They were paying for a controllable arm who could help out the rotation this year too.

Dombrowski may well have acquired Pomeranz at his peak value, which is unsurprising. But what mattered most was whether the team believed Pomeranz could contribute effectively beyond 2016. That, once they had all the health information, whether they properly evaluated what it would mean for his future.

It looked bad when Pomeranz started the season on the disabled list. He had a stem-cell injection in his forearm in the winter, too. There wasn’t much to hang your hat on at the start of April. 

Realistically, Pomeranz probably isn’t 100 percent right now. Even within the relative world of pro baseball — where no one is ever 100 percent — Pomeranz is probably further from it than most. 

But he's powered through. Pomeranz’s attitude might actually fit Boston better than most realize. He also is, whether people want to acknowledge it or not, a pitcher with a high ceiling in terms of ability (if not innings).

He also is, whether people want to acknowledge it or not, a pitcher with a high ceiling in terms of ability (if not innings).

How Pomeranz holds up is to be seen. But the team’s judgment that he would have value beyond last season, a value worth surrendering Espinoza for, is looking better and better.

Francona misses second game this month because of health issues

Francona misses second game this month because of health issues

CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona missed Tuesday night's game against Texas after his second trip to the hospital this month.

The Indians said doctors for now have ruled out major health issues and Francona will be monitored the next several weeks.

Francona, 58, left Monday night's game because he wasn't feeling well. He spent several hours at Cleveland Clinic and underwent a series of tests.

Francona was released from the hospital on Tuesday and spent the rest of the day at home. He was expected to return to the dugout Wednesday when the Indians host the Rangers. Cleveland lost to Texas 2-1 on Tuesday.

Bench coach Brad Mills ran the team in Francona's absence. Cleveland began the day in first place in the AL Central after rallying for a 15-9 win Monday.

"Tito actually wanted to come back to the ballpark today," team president Chris Antonetti said Tuesday. "I told him he can't come back to the ballpark today. He only got a couple hours of sleep last night, so despite his desire to want to be here, I thought it was best that he gets some rest tonight and just come back tomorrow. His plan when he was getting released from the hospital was to come over here."

"I don't think he was exceedingly happy with me," Antonetti said with a laugh. "That's OK."

Francona was hospitalized June 13 following a game at Progressive Field. He underwent tests and was released a few hours later, returning to work the following night. Last August, he missed a game after experiencing chest pains but was back the next day.

"Thankfully, we've got some great doctors that are coordinating his care," Antonetti said. "They've done every test they can possibly imagine. They've all come back clean. They're now working to try to figure out what are some of those things that are causing him to not feel so well."

Francona, a close friend of Mills for several years, has retained his sense of humor through his health issues.

A statement released by the team Tuesday read, "Mr. Francona also wanted to express that medical personnel have not yet ruled out an allergy to Bench Coach Brad Mills."