Valentine on Miller: 'One of the MVP's of our bullpen'

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Valentine on Miller: 'One of the MVP's of our bullpen'

Bobby Valentine had high praise for reliever Andrew Miller, who has been particularly effective out of the bullpen.

Entering Monday's action, Miller was 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA, limiting opposing hitters to a .172 average. Since May 30, Miller has pitched to a 1.04 ERA, allowing just one earned runs over his last 12 outings, covering 8 23 innings.

Miller is averaging more than a strikeout per innings (20 in 19 innings of work).

Perhaps most impressive is that Miller has stranded 16 of 18 inherited runners --- second-best in the American League -- and retired 22-of-23 first batters faced.

"He's been one of the MVPs of our bullpen," said Valentine. "He's been able to be durable and consistently good. He's a presence now out of our bullpen, throwing 96 mph with a very good breaking ball. He's been effective because our Triple-A (coaches) did a fabulous job eliminating his windup and any other motion he had in his stretch. His efficiency in his delivery has allowed him to be very efficient in the strike zone."

Flubbed popup opens floodgates, helps Blue Jays beat Red Sox, 8-6

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Flubbed popup opens floodgates, helps Blue Jays beat Red Sox, 8-6

BOSTON -- Justin Smoak hit a pair of homers and Steve Pearce drove in two runs when Boston second baseman Brock Holt lost his popup in the sun, and the Toronto Blue Jays held on to beat the Red Sox 8-6 on Thursday.

The teams split the four-game series. Including the 15-inning game on Tuesday with Toronto, the AL East-leading Red Sox played 76 innings in about 144 hours - the equivalent of 8 1/2 games in six days.

Dominic Leone (2-0) earned the win. Starter Francisco Liriano got just five outs, allowing three runs in the second, but Toronto came back with four in the third to take a 5-3 lead against Doug Fister (0-4).

Roberto Osuna pitched the ninth for his 24th save.

Smoak has 26 homers this season. His previous career high was 20, in 2013.

It was 7-3 in the seventh when Dustin Pedroia, in the lineup at designated hitter after the long week, hit a three-run homer - his third hit of the day and his fourth homer in 11 games.

Smoak, who also had an RBI single, added his second homer of the game in the ninth.

Farrell says Red Sox clubhouse anticipating trade

Farrell says Red Sox clubhouse anticipating trade

BOSTON — John Farrell might have stopped short of actually stumping for a deal. Still, the Red Sox manager on Thursday morning spoke highly of the potential impact of a trade and indicated his players are waiting to see what this front office can add to a first-place team.

From a morale perspective, Farrell sees a potential boon in an acquisition.

“I think it’s always a plus,” Farrell said. “It’s a strong sign that everyone is aligned to support, add to, fortify — however you want to describe it — an area of need. And I think there’s a lot that goes into — there’s almost an injection of maybe that support or, further momentum that, OK, this is going to better equip us to go deep into the season.”

The players, Farrell said, have an anticipation for the possibility of a trade as well.

“I think there is. I think players carry that,” Farrell said. “They’re well in tune. Maybe some of them might be wondering OK, am I out?...So there’s a tentative period of time that we’ll go through here in the next 10-14 days. But adding to [the team] I think is always a positive.”

A day earlier, Farrell noted the improvement the Yankees made in their trade for Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle.