Boston Red Sox

Red Sox hope days off serve as relief

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Red Sox hope days off serve as relief

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Perhaps Wednesdays rain-out combined with Thursdays scheduled off-day will be the elixir for what has been ailing the Red Sox.

Definitely, turn the page, you know, said David Ortiz in the Red Sox clubhouse, shortly after the announcement that Wednesdays game against the Rays had been postponed because of the weather. Make things better and start winning ballgames.

Ortiz has seen signs of his team coming out of its 2-9 quagmire to start the season.

Oh yeah, better swinging and better contact, he said. The things that you want to see. Its just a matter of time things are going get better. They cant get no worse.

What has surprised him most about the Sox start?

Not winning, he said. We expect to win and its not happening. Its ugly because at one point you want to start winning. We had a good series against the Yankees and then we got Tampa that were playing . . . theyre probably worse than us . . . We got to change things and make sure they get better.

With the offense hitting a combined .230, going 7-for-52 (.134) with runners in scoring position, and the pitching staff posting a combined ERA of 6.77, theres plenty of blame to be shared. Ortiz said its on the players, and not the manager or coaches.

Its the players, man, Ortiz said. Its us. Fans and everybody got our back. We need to bounce back and try to win some games. We can't ask more than the fans being great and I know its depressing and I know that its early in the season, but this is the Red Sox, man. Im not used to that. Ive been here nine years and Im not used to that. I mean I look at it and its frustrating. I never used that word but I have to now.

But, manager Terry Francona sees it differently. The staff and players are one unit, he said.

I think its up to us, Francona said. I think thats the biggest thing is its up to us. I mean, I appreciate what Davids saying but as a staff I dont think we want to point fingers. Its our job to certainly to understand where we need to play better. But I dont ever want them to feel like its us against them. Its easy to stand up here and pat them on the back, and we got to do that a lot. When things arent going well I think its important to be there for them. I want them to feel that way.

Its highly unusual to have consecutive days without a game on the baseball calendar. Francona hopes his team can use the down time to its advantage.

Were not going to win, were not going to lose, he said. That would be the hope. I dont think theres anything that happens that we dont try to have be our benefit. If youre going to sit around, OK, guysll hit in the cage, theyll lift, youll get the bullpens, guys that get a chance to not throw. But anything, we always try to look to take advantage of.

The mental break can also be beneficial.

I dont think thatll hurt, Francona said. I dont think thatll hurt one bit. Justifiably, were all answering questions, but you have to. To be able to step away for a day, hopefully thatll help.

Having a mostly veteran team can help. Most of them have been through something like this at some point in their careers.

It needs to be helpful, Francona said We know where were at. Were very aware of that. Weve been through a lot with these guys, with a lot of them. And the new guys we like. So, rather than bail on them we just want to help, help make it better. We created a nine-game fiasco early in the season. Now weve got to figure out a way to make it.

But hes not going to manufacture gimmicks to get his team out of its slump.

I dont think were trying to come up with stuff, he said. Everything we do we try to come up with common-sense reasons. When you start coming up with stuff its probably not going to be based on common sense and going against things you believe in. The biggest thing is to go with things you believe in and keep doing it and have a good reason for it.

He hopes his team can stay loose. But, he knows that perception can misguided.

Its a lot easier to play loose and aggressive and confident when you're winning, he said. Theres a fine line there. When the media walks in and youre not having a party they say youre tight. If you lost and theyre loud, OK, theyre not tight, they dont care. What we need to do is win.

And that will be the best elixir of all.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

Drellich: In-season trades are winning moves for Sox

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Drellich: In-season trades are winning moves for Sox

CLEVELAND — There was Drew Pomeranz a year ago and Eduardo Nunez in July. Now, there’s Rajai Davis.

The Red Sox have continually pushed forward with in-season trades, and the timing is hard to ignore. As the Sox have soared in August — they’re 16-4 since the non-waiver trade deadline, and nipping at the idle Houston Astros’ heels for best record in the American League — the value of new blood in a clubhouse and a lineup are shining through.

Not every deal is of great impact. See Fernando Abad, who’s essentially MIA. Not every deal of great impact right away, either. See Year 2 Pomeranz, who went toe to toe with Corey Kluber in Wednesday night’s 6-1 Sox win over the Indians. Somehow, that wasn’t surprising in Pomeranz’s best year yet.

But either way, Dave Dombrowski is not one to remain idle at the trade deadline, a stark contrast to the Astros — the team the Sox now could dethrone for home-field advantage in the A.L. playoffs. Houston’s decision not to make any notable upgrades this year brought outspoken disappointment from both the ace of the staff, Dallas Keuchel, and Josh Reddick, the former Sox outfielder.

“You’re aware that if you make a move that’s viewed positively, that it can have a great influence mentally on your team,” Dombrowski said earlier this month on the Baseball Show podcast of the impact of trades. “However, you would not make a move strictly for that purpose. … It really comes down to how your team performs once the players arrive.” 

They’re performing alright.

The Sox’ home runs have spiked this month. One internal theory is that the new, lengthened look to the lineup has contributed significantly, as opposed to things simply evening out after power was scarce most of the year.

It’s a viable contributing factor. Nunez and Rafael Devers show up, and pitchers can’t pitch around the other names as they did previously. There are more threats and more opportunities for mistakes to be capitalized on. 

Nunez ripped his sixth home run since joining the Red Sox on Wednesday night, giving him two more long balls in 22 games with the Red Sox than he had in 76 games with the Giants this season.

Power is something Nunez really showed for the first time in his career last year, with 16 in all. 

“For the last two years I've learned more 'top' than before,” Nunez said, referring to lifting the ball more. “Before I was more [swinging] down, line-drive hitting, ground ball to the opposite field. So I changed my approach.

“We have a little camp in the Dominican with [Robinson] Cano, [Edwin] Encarnacion, [Jean] Segura, all those guys. And we have a hitting coach, that's Luis Merced over there, we figured out that on an inside pitch, I tried to hit the ball to the right field, we decided to pull the ball. We decided it's better to pull the ball.”

Still, the Sox didn’t expect this kind of power. They expected just a lift.

“I don’t know that we were thinking home run,” manager John Farrell said. “He was swinging the bat well. We needed to add to our offense, which, let’s face it, month of July we were stagnant. He’s done that, and the power certainly has been there. He’s such a good high-ball hitter, and that’s where a lot of those home runs have come from, pitches up.”

Now, Davis is here. He’ll play center field, Farrell said after Wednesday night’s game, presumably in an everyday capacity, although that’s to be seen. 

(Deven Marrero was sent back to the minors to make room for Davis, who is to be around Thursday. Blaine Boyer also returned to the roster from the disabled list, with Hector Velazquez sent down.)

Jackie Bradley Jr. may not be down too long with a thumb sprain, but if you’re in the Red Sox clubhouse, it has to sit well with you knowing that even as September creeps up, more help has arrived. Rather instantaneously, too. Bradley gets an MRI in the morning, a trade is made in the afternoon.

“When we found out this morning, picked up the phone and called Billy Beane back today and moved it along at a quicker pace, because we had room on the roster for him,” Dombrowski said.

There’s power in trades, including power that’s unexpected.

Pomeranz shines again as Red Sox beat Indians, 6-1

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Pomeranz shines again as Red Sox beat Indians, 6-1

CLEVELAND -- The Boston Red Sox found a way to get the best of Corey Kluber.

Mitch Moreland hit a fifth-inning home run, Drew Pomeranz and three relievers outdueled Cleveland's ace, and the Red Sox defeated the Indians 6-1 on Wednesday night.

Boston manager John Farrell admitted his team had little margin for error.

"One run against Kluber felt like an accomplishment," he said. "We had good at-bats all night long against one of the best pitchers in baseball. Thankfully, we created some separation later in the game."

Moreland homered to right on a 1-0 pitch from Kluber (12-4), who allowed two runs over 7 2/3 innings.

Mookie Betts' RBI single with two outs in the eighth ended the night for Cleveland's ace, who allowed four hits and struck out 12 - the 13th time this season he's reached double figures in strikeouts.

Four pitchers held Cleveland's injury-depleted lineup to three hits, a night after Doug Fister pitched a one-hitter.

Edwin Encarnacion hit a two-out homer in the eighth off Addison Reed.

Pomeranz (13-4) gave up two hits and struck out nine in 5 1/3 innings in winning his seventh straight decision.

"Most of these games here have felt like the playoffs with the intensity," he said. "I was throwing it where I wanted to, and they were having a hard time hitting it."

Eduardo Nunez hit a two-run homer in the ninth off Bryan Shaw when Boston scored four times.

Jay Bruce beat out an infield hit in the second and Brandon Guyer singled in the fourth for Cleveland's other hits.

Kluber and Pomeranz both left their starts on Friday with injuries, but completed bullpen sessions earlier in the week. Kluber was removed in the sixth inning against Kansas City because of a sprained right ankle. Pomeranz left against the New York Yankees in the fourth because of back spasms.

Neither pitcher thought the injuries were a factor.

"I wasn't even thinking about it at all," Kluber said. "I was able to throw my side normally and be able to pitch today."

"No back issues at all," Pomeranz said. "I felt fine."

Kluber didn't allow a baserunner until Nunez's infield hit to lead off the fourth. The right-hander struck out the next three hitters and got the first two outs in the fifth before Moreland hit his 15th home run.

Kluber struck out the first two hitters in the eighth and has 208 this season, the fourth straight year he's reached the 200 mark.

Brock Holt drew a two-out walk in the eighth and Nunez was hit by a pitch. Betts singled past third baseman Giovanny Urshela for a 2-0 lead.

"To get two quick outs and then walk a guy, hit a guy and give up a hit, it's not ideal," Kluber said.

The Indians placed second baseman Jason Kipnis on the 10-day disabled list for the second time since early July while first baseman Carlos Santana missed his second straight game with back tightness.

Outfielders Michael Brantley (sprained right ankle) and Lonnie Chisenhall (strained right calf) are also out.

"Sometimes you don't have everybody," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "That doesn't mean you can't win. It can be little more challenging. Rather than back down, just keep fighting."

ROSTER NEWS

Boston acquired OF Rajai Davis from Oakland during the game. Davis and RHP Blaine Boyer, who has been on the DL with a stiff neck, were added to the roster. INF Deven Marrero and RHP Hector Velazquez were optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

SLUMPING

Jose Ramirez, one of Cleveland's most consistent hitters, is in an 0-for-17 slump after going hitless in three at-bats and drawing a walk in the first. His average has dropped to .298.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: OF Jackie Bradley Jr. was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained left thumb.

Indians: Santana might return to the lineup Thursday. He was removed in the eighth inning Monday.

UP NEXT

Red Sox LHP Chris Sale allowed seven runs over five innings in an Aug. 1 no-decision against Cleveland. Indians RHP Trevor Bauer is 1-2 with an 8.79 ERA in five career outings against Boston.