Weiland to make debut on Sunday

191542.jpg

Weiland to make debut on Sunday

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON The Red Sox have announced a starter for Sundays game against the Orioles to take the place of Jon Lester who was placed on the disabled list July 6 with a left latissimus strain.

Right-hander Kyle Weiland will make his major league debut in the first-half finale. Weiland is 8-6 with a 3.00 ERA in 17 starts for Triple-A Pawtucket this season, allowing two or fewer runs in 14 of his starts. In his last 10 starts, he is 6-2 with a 2.33 ERA. He has 99 strikeouts against 37 walks in 93 innings for a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.68 and a strikeouts-per-nine innings ratio of 9.6.

Its his day to start, said manager Terry Francona. Hes lined up for it. Hes really been doing well. So as much as its kind of gone wrong with some Health, this is the flip side, where its really exciting. Im kind of looking forward to it.

Weiland, 24, was taken in the third round of the 2008 draft out of Notre Dame, the Sox fifth overall pick that year. He was in big league camp this spring, appearing in four games.

He came to camp this spring, which is good, Francona said. Now that its time to pitch he won't be introducing himself to everybody. Im sure hell have butterflies and be nervous but guys know who he is, our catchers have caught him. I believe he went through the rookie development program and thats good, too. But hes throwing the ball really well. Hes missing a lot of bats, come up with a cutter along with his breaking ball and fastball. Hes having a lot of success there.

Im not surprised by his strikeout numbers. He throws hard. Hes got a live arm. He always has. But starting to command and I think hes competing and just starting to mature as a pitcher. That happens. Sometimes its at different rates but hes always had a good arm.

Alfredo Aceves, who pitched two scoreless innings in Thursdays win over the Os, was another candidate to make the start on Sunday.

We certainly could have, Francona said. But the way our bullpen is situated he gives us such a luxury of pitching short, pitching long. Again, he may start again some time, but, again, this kids Weiland lined up and Hes been pretty hot. Wed like to send him out there and see how he does.

Weiland is not on the 40-man roster. The Sox will have to make a corresponding move when they add him to the roster.

Yamaico Navarro is making his first start in the outfield, playing left, batting ninth. Navarro began playing the outfield in the minors for the first time this season, playing three games in left, one in center, and eight in right field for the PawSox.

We saw him run balls down this spring, like in BP, Francona said. A lot of guys do do it but it seemed like as an organization we thought, Wait a minute. Maybe we ought to think about doing this. We wanted him to get his feet on the ground in Triple A first. He started out hitting real well, then he got hurt. Then they moved him to both left and rightmore left than right. they say hes been really good. Hes got a good clock defensively, like when the balls hit to him at short and thirdIm sure it helps to have an arm like that, but you never see him rush. Hes got a real good idea, real good awareness of where the runner is. It seems like thats kind of translated out to the outfield also.

Hes a kind of hard guy to assess He doesnt speak a ton of English and I dont know how comfortable he is right now at an early part of his career here opening up too much. Last year when he got going he swung at everything in sight. He was nervous or too aggressive and hes kind of harnessed that a little bit because if he does, hes got great bat speed, a little bit like Josh Reddick. That ball comes off his bat pretty special.

Playing in front of the Green Monster for the first time can be somewhat intimidating for any player, especially for a young player. Francona has limited concern.

Its his first time but hes a really good athlete, Francona said. So no more than anybody else.

Dustin Pedroia launched for a three-run homer in the third inning Thursday night, on a 3-1 pitch well above the strike zone. Asked if Pedroia is one of the better bad-ball hitters, Francona replied:

Well, you're looking at a guy across the field in Vlad Guerrero, he takes that to a whole new level. Theres not a pitch you throw him he doesnt think he can hit. Unfortunately, sometimes he does. Pedey, its funny because his first at-bat, first inning, guy was having trouble throwing strikes, Pedey had 2-0, swung at a high fastball and popped it up and he was mad. But it was like thats the pitch he hits when hes looking for it. And then his next time up its like the same pitch but maybe even higher and he hits it a mile.

Asked if he thought Pedroia was being more selective at the plate this season, Francona replied:

No, I actually think he hasnt. But I just think hes working the counts real well and then he gets to two strikes and hes laying off that pitch. His approach to me seems pretty similar. He says its because Gonzies not giving him any protection.

Yes, that last line was said with tongue in cheek.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Drellich: Red Sox' talent drowning out lack of identity

Drellich: Red Sox' talent drowning out lack of identity

A look under the hood is not encouraging. A look at the performance is.

The sideshows for the Red Sox have been numerous. What the team’s success to this point has reinforced is how much talent and performance can outweigh everything else. Hitting and pitching can drown out a word that rhymes with pitching — as long as the wins keep coming.

MORE RED SOX

At 40-32, the Sox have the seventh-best win percentage (.556) in the majors. What they lack, by their own admission, is an intangible. Manager John Farrell told reporters Wednesday in Kansas City his club was still searching for its identity.

“A team needs to forge their own identity every year,” Farrell said. “That’s going to be dependent upon the changes on your roster, the personalities that exist, and certainly the style of game that you play. So, with [David Ortiz’s] departure, his retirement, yeah, that was going to happen naturally with him not being here. And I think, honestly, we’re still kind of forming it.”

To this observer, the vibe in the Red Sox clubhouse is not the merriest. 

Perhaps, in the mess hall, the players are a unified group of 25 (or so), living for one another with every pitch. What the media sees is only a small slice of the day. 

But it does not feel like Farrell has bred an easygoing, cohesive environment.

Farrell and big boss Dave Dombrowski appeared unaligned in their view of Pablo Sandoval’s place on the roster, at least until Sandoval landed on the disabled list. 

Hanley Ramirez and first base may go together like Craig Kimbrel and the eighth inning. Which is to say, selfless enthusiasm for the ultimate goal of winning does not appear constant with either.

Dustin Pedroia looked like the spokesperson of a fractured group when he told Manny Machado, in front of all the cameras, “It’s not me, it’s them,” as the Orioles and Red Sox carried forth a prolonged drama of drillings. 

Yet, when you note the Sox are just a half-game behind the Yankees for the American League East lead; when you consider the Sox have won 19 of their past 30 games, you need to make sure everything is kept in proportion.

How much are the Sox really hurt by a lack of identity? By any other issue off the field?

Undoubtedly, the Sox would be better positioned if there were no sideshows. But it’s hard to say they’d have ‘X’ more wins.

The Sox would have had a better chance of winning Wednesday’s game if Kimbrel pitched at any point in the eighth inning, that’s for sure. 

Kimbrel is available for one inning at this point, the ninth, Farrell has said.

A determination to keep Kimbrel out of the eighth because that’s not what a closer traditionally does seems like a stance bent on keeping Kimbrel happy rather than doing what is best for the team. The achievement of a save has been prioritized over the achievement of a team win, a state of affairs that exists elsewhere, but is nonetheless far from ideal — a state of affairs that does not reflect an identity of all for one and one for all.

Maybe the Sox will find that identity uniformly. Maybe they’re so good, they can win the division without it. 

Perez's eighth-inning slam, after three walks, lifts Royals over Red Sox, 6-4

Perez's eighth-inning slam, after three walks, lifts Royals over Red Sox, 6-4

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Salvador Perez borrowed a Miguel Cabrera bat from Kansas City Royals teammate Drew Butera for the first time Wednesday.

"It's a magic stick," Butera said.

It was magic for Perez, who hit his first career grand slam, connecting in the eighth inning to rally the Royals over the Boston Red Sox 6-4.

"Miggy gave the bat to Butera when Detroit was playing here," Perez said. "Drew doesn't use it. It's too heavy for him. Today, coming into the clubhouse, I put it in my locker. I like the bat.

"Today was the first day I used it and I'll use it Friday, too, before you ask me. I don't want to break that one. I've got to call Miggy and say, `You've got to send me some more bats.'"

The Royals have won nine of 11 and moved within a game of .500.

Perez homered over the Kansas City bullpen in left field on the ninth pitch from Robby Scott (0-1). With Boston leading 4-2, reliever Matt Barnes started the inning by walking Jorge Bonifacio and Lorenzo Cain on 12 pitches.

"We uncharacteristically lost the strike zone," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "For a group that has been so good at not issuing too many walks over the course of the year, we had an inning that got away from us. Matt was up in the zone. He couldn't get the ball down.

"This one stings because that group has been so good, so consistent for the better part of the whole season."

Scott was summoned to face Eric Hosmer, but walked him on four pitches to load the bases for Perez. The All-Star catcher fouled off three full-count deliveries before hitting his 15th home run of the season.

"I was happy with where the pitch was, but it was too good," Scott said. "There's not much else to say about it."

According to ESPN Stats and Information, Perez was the first Kansas City player to hit a grand slam in the eighth inning or later with the Royals trailing since Frank White in 1986. Perez went 3 for 3 in the win.

Jorge Soria (3-2) worked a spotless eighth. Kelvin Herrera pitched the ninth for his 17th save in 19 chances.

Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts hit successive home runs in the Boston fourth off Ian Kennedy.

Benintendi's drive was estimated at 454 feet and landed in the right-center waterfall. The leadoff homer was Boston's first hit, and the 100th of Benintendi's career.

Five pitches later, Bogaerts went deep to left, tying the score at 2. It was the fourth time this season the Red Sox have hit back-to-back home runs.

"I tried to go inside and the ball just ran back over," Kennedy said of the homers.

Red Sox lefty Drew Pomeranz worked 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs and six hits.

Kennedy was removed after 4 2/3 innings, giving up four runs, two earned, three hits and three walks. He has just one victory in his past 17 starts.

Errors by Kennedy and first baseman Cheslor Cuthbert helped Boston score twice in the fifth.

ORTIZ'S CEREMONY

The Red Sox will retire David Ortiz's No. 34 in a pregame ceremony Friday at Fenway Park. "When you consider the careers that are on that facade, the numbers that are up there and the fact that his being done so soon after retiring, I think speaks volumes," Farrell said. "What he's meant to the city, what he's meant to the organization. To see him at the ballpark, see the smile, to hear the booming voice, it will be a good day for us."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia missed his third straight game with rib soreness after being hit by a pitch Sunday. "When he went down to swing in the cage, there's still some restriction," Farrell said. "Hopefully he'll be back in the lineup Friday." ... LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (right knee subluxation) will throw a 30-pitch two-inning simulated game Saturday.

Royals: RHP Nathan Karns (forearm strain) threw off a flat surface, his first time tossing since having a setback 11 days ago. ... LHP Danny Duffy (oblique strain) will throw a bullpen session Friday and could begin a minor league rehab stint next week.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: After a day off Thursday, RHP Rick Porcello will start Friday against the Angels.

Royals: RHP Jakob Junis will start Friday against the Blue Jays.