Jenks & Wheeler to DL, Hill & Atchison called up


Jenks & Wheeler to DL, Hill & Atchison called up

By Maureen Mullen

BOSTON - After using eight pitchers in Wednesday night'sThursday morning's loss to the Angels, including every available reliever except Bobby Jenks, and Daisuke Matsuzaka who took the loss in the 13th inning, the Red Sox needed bullpen reinforcements for Thursday's afternoon game.

Help arrived from Triple-A Pawtucket in the form of left-hander Rich Hill and right-hander Scott Atchison. It is the first appearance on the major league rosterthis season for both. To make room for them on the roster, the Sox placed right-handers Bobby Jenks (right biceps strain) and Dan Wheeler (left calf strain) on the 15-day disabled list.

In his last two outings, Jenks has suffered two blown saves and a loss, falling to 1-2 with a 9.35 ERA. Wheeler has an ERA of 11.32 and has given up a combined two home runs and five earned runs in his last two outings, spanning 2 23 innings.

"After the game we talked to Bobby Jenks," manager Terry Francona said. "We're going to get him looked at today and get him checked out. I don't think anybody thinks it's anything serious. When you go through a night like last night though and guys aren't available, you have to make moves. We're going to put him on the disabled list. We talked to him about that last night.

"Wheels, his left calf has been bugging him for a couple of days. I don't think it's something that's going to linger but we also have to have enough guys in the bullpen to finish the game. So we talked to him also."

It is the first time in his career that Wheeler has gone on the DL.

"I don't know how to explain it," Wheeler said of going on the DL. "It's frustrating. That's one thing I do, I pride myself on being able to come every day and be ready.

"It's just kind of strained a little bit so they're just kind of being cautious . . . That's the right way to go, get it good and healed up. It's not going to be an issue."

Wheeler said the calf - or any physical issue - has not been the reason for his struggles this season.

"I feel good," he said. "There's just a couple of pitches here or there that I'm getting hurt on. So I just want to make sure I refine that and maybe focus a little bit."

Atchison is 1-0 with one save, a 1.04 ERA, and 17 strikeouts over nine appearances spanning 17 13 innings. He started the PawSox Opening Night game in place of Alfredo Aceves who was called up earlier that day. Hill, a native of Milton, Mass., is 1-0 with one save and a 1.13 ERA over 10 appearances spanning 16 innings.

Atchison and Hill got the news about 3:30 Thursday morning when Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler called them.

"I thought it was my alarm at first, to be honest, because I was waking up at probably about 6:00," Atchison said. "I was kind of like, 'Whoa, why is my alarm going off so early?' And then I rolled over and saw it was Arnie's number. Usually when you get a call at 3:30 in the morning from a Triple-A manager it's probably a good phone call. So you answer that."

Neither Hill nor Atchison has been told specifically how he will be used.

"I would guess after what little bit I've seen of what happened last night that it could be at any point," Atchison said. "You just never know. So I'll be ready to go from the start of it. That's the role I've been in before and kind of expect the same kind of thing."

Dustin Pedroia is not in the starting lineup today. Marco Scutaro will play second base, batting ninth. Jed Lowrie is playing shortstop, batting sixth. Pedroia has, uncharacteristically, been struggling at the plate recently. He is just 6 for last 50 (.120) since April 21, with four runs, four RBI, six walks,13 strikeouts, 24 runners left on base, and no extra-base hits.

In that span, his average fell from .333 to .241. He had a career-high four strikeouts last night. "He needs it," Francona said. "We only want to give Pedey days off when he needs it because he's such a good player even when he's not swinging the bat like he
can, but he needs it. It'll be good for him. He plays so hard and he's so all out that on a night like last night with the quick turnaround, this'll be good for him."

Before Thursday's game, Francona was unsure if Matsuzaka would make his scheduled start Friday, but said, "My guess is no."

J.D. Drew, who was bothered by vertigo and was unavailable for Wednesday's game, was back in the starting lineup Thursday. He has dealt with the ailment for several years.

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

Felger: Will October be a dance or a dud?

Felger: Will October be a dance or a dud?

For a Red Sox team that has been the best in baseball in September and had won 11 straight prior to last night, you have to admit: There are a lot of things that could go the other way with this team in the playoffs that wouldn't surprise you.

To wit:

-- Would it surprise you if David Price blew up again in the postseason? He has a 5.12 career postseason ERA and has never won a playoff start. Was last night a precursor? He looked like his old shaky October self with a chance to clinch the division in Yankee Stadium.

-- Would it surprise you if Clay Buchholz crapped his pants when it mattered most? This is your No. 3 starter, folks, or No. 4 at worst. He's getting the ball in the playoffs either way, and if I told you that two months ago you'd tell me the Sox are sunk. He looks good now, but we all know he is the ultimate tease.

-- Would it surprise you if John Farrell blows a game with a bone-headed decision from the bench? Of course not; he's been doing that for nearly four years. Yes, he did it all the way to a title in 2013, but the possibility remains very real. It's in the back of most everyone's mind.

-- Would it surprise you if Koji Uehara regresses and the eighth inning once again becomes a problem? Uehara certainly has the experience and has pitched well recently, but the fact is that it feels like his arm is attached by a noodle.

-- Would it surprise you if some of the Sox' youth shows its age? It shouldn't. Happens all the time. Would it surprise you if Craig Kimbrel can't find the plate in a big save situation? It shouldn't. He's shown glimpses of it all season and has never pitched past the division series in his career. Would it surprise you if Hanley Ramirez makes an important mistake at first? Or the Sox' hole at third becomes a factor? Nope and nope.

We could play this game all night.

Now, what do I think is going to happen? I think the Sox are going to pitch well, even Price, and the offense will remain a force. I have full faith in Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Rick Porcello and the lineup in general. There's a feeling on this team that's hard to ignore, likely inspired by Ortiz, and I think they'll keep it going in the postseason. I agree with those who say the Sox have the most talent in the American League, so that's a great place to start. I don't know if that means the ALCS, the World Series or a championship. I just think they'll continue to play well into October.

But all of that is just a feeling, just a prediction -- and you know what those are good for. The point is this: If it goes the other way for the Sox, I think we already have the reasons why.

E-mail Felger at Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 FM. The simulcast runs daily on CSN.

McAdam: Price not exactly hitting stride with postseason on horizon

McAdam: Price not exactly hitting stride with postseason on horizon

NEW YORK -- The division title was there for the taking Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. When you've won 11 straight and steamrolled every other team in the division, what's one more?

One too many, apparently.

The Red Sox' 6-4 defeat to the New York Yankees postponed the Champagne party for at least one night. In and of itself, that's not a huge concern. The Sox' magic number remains one with five games to play and the club's epic hot streak had to come to an end eventually.

A better night by either David -- Ortiz or Price -- might have resulted in corks popping and on-field celebrations.

Ortiz was 0-for-5 and stranded a total of seven baserunners. When he came to the plate in the top of the ninth against Tyler Clippard with two outs and two on, it almost seemed scripted.

Here was Ortiz in his final Yankee Stadium series, about to inflict one final bit of misery on the rival Yankees with a three-run homer in the top of the ninth.

Talk about drama. Talk about one more famous, final scene.

Alas, Ortiz took some feeble swings and swung through strike three for the final out. Not even Ortiz, for all his clutch performances, can conjure a game-winner on-demand every time.

A far bigger concern was the work of Price. Perhaps the best thing than can be said of him for now is that he almost certainly will not have to face the Yankees again this season, against whom he's compiled a gaudy 7.89 ERA this season.

More troubling, though, is that Price is not exactly hitting his stride as the postseason appears on the near horizon. In his last three starts combined, Price has pitched 19 1/3 innings and allowed 27 hits and 14 runs.

That isn't the line of someone at peak form at the right time. To the contrary, after a run of outings in which it again appeared Price had figured everything out, he's regressed in his last three.

Most troubling Tuesday was a repeated inability to turn back the Yankees after his team had pulled close on the scoreboard.

Price spotted the Yankees a 3-0 lead, and the Sox finally scored twice in the top of the 6th to close within one at 3-2. But Price quickly gave anther run back in the bottom of the inning.

Then the Sox scored two more times in the seventh to tie things at 4-4. . . but Price gave the two runs right back in the bottom of the inning.

"Very frustrating,'' sighed Price. "It's something I talk about all the time. It's a very big deal. And it's something I feel like I've struggled with this entire year. Whenever you're going good, it's something you're doing very well. And whenever you're going get a lead, give it right back. . . that's tough.''

It also doesn't portend well for the postseason, where Price, as you may have heard, has a spotty track record.

With some strong starts in the final few weeks, he could have reached the playoffs with both momentum and confidence.

Instead, he's got one more start -- Sunday -- to straighten things out.

Ortiz? His postseason bona fides are set.

Price, meanwhile, has no such reservoir of success upon which to draw. And starts like Tuesday's only reinforce the doubts.