Ortiz has answer for first-half woes: Injuries


Ortiz has answer for first-half woes: Injuries

BOSTON -- David Ortiz will be the only Red Sox player at this week's All-Star Game in Kansas City. He's also the only everyday player on his Red Sox team that enters the All-Star break hitting over .300.

Following Sunday night's 7-3 loss to the New York Yankees at Fenway Park, Ortiz gave his "state of the Red Sox" address while sitting in front of his locker.

And with a 43-43 record, tied for last place in the American League East, 9.5 games behind the Yankees, Ortiz is only looking at one thing: injuries.

"With all the injuries that we've been through, I think it could be worse, you know what I'm saying?" said Ortiz.

"It's hard to compete like that," he later added. "I mean, you try, you know what I'm saying? But, it's hard."

The Red Sox hope to get Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford back after the All-Star break. They also currently have Dustin Pedroia on the DL, and Clay Buchholz is expected to be back in the rotation next weekend.

But all season long, the Red Sox have been searching for answers. Ortiz believes he knows the answer. It's as simple as not having some of your best players healthy.

"Have all those guys in and it would be a different story," said Ortiz. "Nobody's facing the situation that we are right now, with all the injuries. One coming in and another going back out, you know what I'm saying, it's hard to play, hard to compete like that.

"That's it," Ortiz later added. "I think that'll be the key right there. Just get some guys back, and fill some holes. Injuries have taken over in the game, man. It's hard.

"If you look at the team that broke spring training, and the team that played the past two-and-a-half months, it's a totally different team. Like I said, it's hard to compete like that."

The Yankees took three-of-four from the Red Sox over the weekend, and they go into the break in first place with 52 wins. They have injuries to key players, too. But Ortiz believes that if everybody gets back healthy for the second half, the Red Sox can make other teams pay, just like the Yankees made them pay this weekend.

"Well we hadn't played the Yankees in a while, but I noticed this weekend that you can make no mistakes when you play against them," said Ortiz. "You make a mistake, they'll make you pay. That's how good teams are.

"Good teams, they take advantage of mistakes. When we are playing well, when we have everybody here, you make a mistake against us, it will come back and haunt you."

Improved Matt Barnes dealing with much more than mechanics


Improved Matt Barnes dealing with much more than mechanics

BOSTON — Matt Barnes has been coping with more than just a few bad outings on the mound, and he’s asking for help.

The Red Sox set-up man made some mechanical corrections that paid off in the eighth inning Monday night, when he struck out all three Twins he faced in a 4-1 Red Sox win at Fenway Park.

“I just simplified the mechanics,” Barnes said afterward. “Two days ago, I was trying to get with more of an up, down, and out approach. I felt better in that outing. I know I gave up a run and walked the one guy, but I felt better around the zone. And then just kind of went into a slide step, doing what Andrew Miller was doing.”

Barnes allowed four runs spanning his previous three outings, retiring just four batters while walking five. But Barnes has had a lot more to worry about than just a brief professional rut. 

He’s been devoted to helping his girlfriend, Chelsea, through the unexpected loss of her father, who was diagnosed with cancer and suffered a stroke

"Her father passed away [May 27]. That’s why I wasn’t in Baltimore for the two days [in early June], I was at his funeral,” Barnes said. "It’s tough, dealing with that, and she’s obviously having a hard time with it. She’s got her good days and her bad days. But it’s not easy. He was sick for a little while, and unexpectedly passed a lot faster than anybody ever expected him to. So, it’s been tough. She’s been alright, considering.”

There are a ton of medical bills still to be paid. A fundraising page has been set up to help the family with some large medical bills, and Barnes has asked on Twitter for people to spread the word if they’re able to.

“I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with her which is nice,” Barnes said of his girlfriend. “Everybody who’s helped out with donations and spreading the page, I couldn’t be more grateful, and she couldn’t be more grateful.”

Barnes is a big leaguer, but he’s still young and making the major league minimum. For every $1,000 total donated, Barnes plans to send a signed baseball to a random donor.

“I felt like it was a nice way, if they’re going to help me out, I can at least do that in return for them,” Barnes said.

Sale gets 9 Ks, Moreland hits home run as Red Sox beat Twins, 4-1


Sale gets 9 Ks, Moreland hits home run as Red Sox beat Twins, 4-1

BOSTON - The way Chris Sale and the Boston relievers were pitching, the Red Sox didn't need to score a lot.

Sale went 6 1/3 overpowering innings with nine strikeouts, Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer for the third straight game and the Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 4-1 on Monday in a matchup of two of the AL's top teams.

"When you've got him on the mound, all you need is a couple and he's going to do the rest," Moreland said. "Obviously, tonight was another example of that."

Dustin Pedroia had two hits and drove in a run and Moreland added a sacrifice fly for Boston, which kept pace with the New York Yankees atop the East.

The Red Sox started fast, grabbing a 2-0 lead just four batters into the first.

"When the guys score early for you, it's nice," Sale said. "It settles you down a little bit and allows you to throw strikes."

Coming off a three-game sweep in Cleveland that had jumped them over the Indians into first in the Central, the Twins' offense was stymied by Sale and three relievers. The loss coupled with Cleveland's win over Texas moved the Indians back a half-game ahead.

Sale (10-3) gave up one run and four hits, increasing his major-league strikeout total to 155. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 21st save after Matt Barnes struck out three in the eighth. Heath Hembree faced one batter, getting a double play.

The 6-foot-6 Sale relied on his usual sharp-breaking slider and fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s to fan eight over the first six innings, getting the initial half dozen with his breaking pitch.

"It's what we've seen many times. He had a nice mix," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I think the biggest trouble we had was with that slider, especially down and in to righties."

Jose Berrios (7-2) allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. Chris Gimenez had a solo homer for Minnesota.

"When you go against a guy like Chris Sale, you try to give 110 percent," Berrios said through a translator.

Boston jumped ahead when Moreland homered into the first row of Green Monster seats after the first run scored on a double-play grounder.

Berrios had given up just two runs in each of his previous four starts, and six of eight since being promoted on May 7.

Gimenez's homer completely left Fenway Park over the Monster.