Boston Red Sox

Red Sox right Tuesday night's wrongs in win

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Red Sox right Tuesday night's wrongs in win

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen

BOSTON Beating the Yankees, 9-5, Tuesday night at Fenway Park improving their season record to 11-3 over the Bombers the Red Sox were able to do something they couldnt in the series-opener loss Monday night: Get timely hits, and big hits, too.

Every member of the Sox lineup had at least one hit. Yankees starter Phil Hughes gave up six runs on eight hits in 5 23 innings.

We stayed on him, kept pressure on him, said Jacoby Ellsbury. I thought throughout the lineup we did a tremendous job, just kept putting pressure on him.

Each time the Yankees went ahead in the third (by 1-0) and sixth (by 5-4) innings the Sox came back and put multiple runs on the board, led by two-run homers from David Ortiz in the fifth, Jacoby Ellsbury in the sixth, and Jason Varitek in the eighth.

We had a big hit out of David and Adrian Gonzalez was able to get on with a base hit, and David hits a big two-run homer, Varitek said. Some things dont go our way. A ball bounces around in right field in the sixth, allowing two runs to score. The next thing you know were in a tie game and then were down one. Jacoby comes up with a huge homer.

Josh Beckett was the beneficiary of the offensive outburst, improving to 12-5 with a 2.54 ERA. He is the first Sox pitcher to record four wins in a season since Al Nipper in 1987.

I thought I made some pitches whenever I needed to, Beckett said. But tonight wasnt about me. We had some guys that have been sticking out all year that stuck out big time.

Variteks home run was his 10th of the season. At 39 years, 142 days, he is the oldest Sox batter to homer in a game since Ellis Burks at 39 years, 210 days on April 8, 2004. On a six-game hitting streak, Varitek added a hit-and-run in the fifth, scoring Josh Reddick, who walked. Varitek went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI.

That hit-and-run was something we practiced, Varitek said. Tito does a lot with me and he has over the years. Its one of the first ones this year.

Ellsburys blast, off Yankee reliever, lefty Boone Logan, into the first row of Monster seats in left-center, scored Varitek. Asked the last time he hit a home run to left, Ellsbury was quick to answer with tongue in cheek.

Today in BP, he said.

He was unaware it was his first career home run to left field. Ellsbury worked the count to 3-and-1, taking two sliders for balls, before turning on Logans 95-mph four-seamer.

Probably wouldnt have seen that a couple of years ago, manager Terry Francona said. He stays back now, he stays balanced . . . Balls that were doubles or outs are turning into a home run. I think he gets more confident as he each day passes.

Laying off the sliders is just being ready to hit and recognizing the pitches early, Ellsbury said. That allowed me to get in a good hitters count. Ended up putting a good swing on that ball. Im just hoping to drive Tek in, peppering the wall. But its nice to see it go out.

Ortizs home run, his team-leading 28th of the season, gave him a season-high 14-game hitting streak, his longest with the Sox, and second-longest of his career, behind a 19-gamer with the Twins in 2002. During his current streak, he is hitting .509 (27-for-53) with seven double, seven home runs, 16 RBI, and eight walks.

Hes a huge run producer, said Pedroia. Hes one of the reasons why we score so many runs. We need him to continue to hit because we dont need him out there playing defense.

Before Variteks hit-and-run in the sixth, Reddick worked his way back from being down 0-2 to Hughes to work an eight-pitch walk, setting up the run.

Those are grinding at-bats, Pedroia said. That's what makes our offense good. We got guys who can hit but in certain situations when their pitching is tough you got to do the little things to help us win. We just got to continue to do that throughout the year.

Despite the decisive win, the Sox wouldnt call this a statement game, though.

It was a nice win, Ellsbury said. I thought the fans, there was a lot of electricity. We feed off that. It was a fun win.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.

Drellich: Pomeranz, league's second-best lefty, knows how to be even better

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Drellich: Pomeranz, league's second-best lefty, knows how to be even better

BOSTON — Drew Pomeranz may not actually be the No. 2 starter for the Red Sox in this year’s presumed American League Division Series. Maybe the Sox will mix in a right-hander between Pomeranz and Chris Sale.

Still, everyone knows which pitcher, in spirit, has been the second-most reliable for the Red Sox. A day after Chris Sale notched his 300th strikeout and on the final off-day of the regular season, it’s worth considering the importance of the other excellent lefty on the Sox, and how much he’s meant to a team that’s needed surprise performances because of the lineup’s drop-off.

Per FanGraphs’ wins above replacement, Pomeranz is the second-most valuable lefthanded starter among those qualified in the American League (you know who's No. 1). He's one of the 10 best starters in the AL overall.

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Pomeranz, 28, was a first-round pick seven years ago. But he didn’t exactly blossom until the last two years. He has a 3.15 ERA in 165 2/3 innings. His next start, if decent, should give him a career-high in innings after he threw 170 2/3 last year.

Pomeranz is a 16-game winner, just one win behind Sale. The value of wins and losses is known to be nil, but there’s still a picture of reliability that can be gleaned.

Is this the year Pomeranz became the pitcher he always envisioned he would be?

“I don’t know, I mean, I had a pretty dang good year last year,” Pomeranz said, referring to a 3.32 ERA between the Padres and Sox, and an All-Star selection. “I think these last two years have been kind of you know, more what I wanted to be like. But I still, I don’t think I’m done yet, you know what I mean?”

Most pro athletes say there’s always room to improve. Pomeranz, however, was able to specify what he wants. The focus is on his third and fourth pitches: his cutter and his change-up. 

“My changeup’s been really good this year,” Pomeranz said. “That’s something that still can go a lot further. And same with my cutter too. I still use it sparingly. I don’t think me just being a six-inning guy is the end of it for me either.

“You set personal goals. You want to throw more innings, cover more innings so the bullpen doesn’t have to cover those. Helps save them for right now during the year.”

Early in the year, Pomeranz wasn’t using his cutter much. He threw just nine in April, per BrooksBaseball.net. That led to talk that he wasn’t throwing the pitch to take it easy on his arm. He did start the year on the disabled list, after all, and cutters and sliders can be more stressful on the elbow and forearm.

That wasn’t the case.

“The reason I didn’t throw it in the beginning of the year was because half the times I threw it went the other way,” Pomeranz said. “It backed up. Instead of cutting, it was like sinking or running back. I mean, I pitched [in Baltimore] and gave up a home run to [Manny] Machado, we were trying to throw one in and it went back. So I didn’t trust it.

“Mechanical thing. I was still trying to clean my mechanics up, and once I cleaned ‘em up and got my arm slot right, then everything started moving the way it was supposed to and then I started throwing it more.”

Pomeranz’s cutter usage, and how he developed the pitch heading into 2016, has been well documented.

The change-up is more of an X-factor. He threw five in each of his last two starts, per Brooks, and it’s a pitch he wants to use more.

“It’s been good,” Pomeranz said. “I think I could throw it a lot more and a lot more effectively, and ... tweaking of pitch selection probably could help me get into some of those later innings too.”

Well, then why not just throw the change more often? Easier said than done when you’re talking about your fourth pitch in a key moment.

“I throw a few a game,” Pomeranz said. “Sometimes you feel like you don’t want too throw it in situations where you get beat with your third or fourth best pitch. I mean it’s felt — every time I’ve thrown it it’s been consistent. It’s just a matter of, it’s something me and Vazqy [Christian Vazquez] talk about, too." 

(When you hear these kind of issues, which most pitchers deal with, it makes you appreciate Sale’s ability to throw any pitch at any time even more.)

Speaking on Wednesday, the day after Pomeranz’s most recent outing, Sox pitching coach Carl Willis said he thinks the change-up’s already starting to have a greater presence.

“He’s kind of always had a changeup, and he hadn’t had any trust or conviction in that pitch,” Willis said. “I was really excited last night that he used the changeup more. He threw it. He doubled up with it on occasion. Something that’s not in the scouting report.

"It’s his fourth pitch and he seldom threw it in a game and he’s in a situation where, OK, the change-up’s the right pitch, but location of whatever I throw is going to outweigh [selection]. Now he’s starting to gain that confidence [that he can locate it]. 

“I think that’s going to make him an extremely better pitcher. I thought it was a huge factor in his outing last night. Because he didn’t have his best velocity. He really did a good job of changing speeds with the changeup, and obviously with the curveball and being able to give different shapes of the pitches.”

The Sox already have the best left-hander in the AL, if not anywhere. The AL's second-best southpaw happens to pitch on the same team, and has tangible plans to be even better.

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Werner criticizes Price for Eck incident; says Sox' relationship with Yanks is 'frosty'

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Werner criticizes Price for Eck incident; says Sox' relationship with Yanks is 'frosty'

BOSTON — Red Sox chairman Tom Werner doesn’t seem to be the biggest fan of the the Yankees, MLB disciplinarian Joe Torre, and players who can’t take criticism from broadcasters.

In a spot Thursday with WEEI, Werner made clear David Price’s handling of Dennis Eckersley was unprofessional.

“Boston is a tough place to play,” Werner said on WEEI’s Ordway, Merlonia and Fauria. “Some players thrive here, and some players don’t. Get a thicker skin. My feeling is, let the broadcasts be honest, be personable, informative, and get over it if you think a certain announcer took a shot at you.”

“I thought there was a way of handling that. It wasn’t handled appropriately. If I’ve got a problem with Lou [Merloni], and I hear something he says on the radio, I’ll say to Lou, ‘That wasn’t fair.’ ”

Werner also called the team’s relationship with the Yankees “frosty” following the public sign-stealing saga that resulted in fines for both clubs.

“The fact is, I do think this was a minor technical violation,” Werner said. “I start with the fact that this was unfortunately raised to a level it never should have been raised to.”

Werner also insinuated he did not approve of how MLB and Torre handled the disciplining of Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, who receieved a four-game suspension for his part in a fight against the Tigers (reduced on appeal to three games).

“Do you think Gary Sanchez got an appropriate punishment?” Werner asked.