Miller steady, offense breaks out, 7-1

191542.jpg

Miller steady, offense breaks out, 7-1

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
KANSAS CITY Its beginning to look like Kansas City was the perfect place for the road weary Red Sox to start catching their breath.

For the second straight night the Sox received quality pitching and steady offense, and for the second straight night the Sox took home a road win this time a 7-1 victory over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

The victory allowed the Sox to keep pace with the Yankees and remain a game back in the AL East standings.

The Sox offense was paced by a three-run Jarrod Saltalamacchia home run to deep left field on an 0-2 pitch in the top of the fifth inning off Royals lefty Jeff Francis, who will forever be linked to the ill-advised security stop of Dustin Pedroia at Coors field during the 2007 World Series. The three-run bomb by Saltalamacchia means the Sox backstop will also have a ready made line if he ever has a problem getting into the Kansas City ballpark.

Saltalamacchias home run drove the game out of reach, and allowed spot starter Andrew Miller plenty of room to work with.

Miller was simply effective in his first start since July 31 and allowed only three hits and a single run in 5 13 impressive innings before handing the ball off to Alfredo Aceves. The Sox righty finished out the final 3 23 scoreless innings for his second save of the year to go along with eight wins.

Miller and Aceves combined to hold a strong Royals offense to only four hits on the evening and virtually no sniff of offense after threatening early in the game.

Aside from Saltalamacchia and Miller, Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez busted out of an 0-for-14 slump over the last four games with a three hit performance after shaving off his goatee prior to Friday nights tilt against the Royals. The Sox offense pounded out 13 hits and five extra base knocks and served notice that they should be just fine without Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz for the next couple of weeks.

Ryan Lavarnway even chipped in with his first big league hit to right field after leaving the bases loaded in both the first and third innings when it was still a scoreless ballgame.

The Royals actually scrapped for the first run in the bottom of the third frame against Miller, but it was all Sox against Francis and the Kansas City bullpen after the third inning.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Farrell: 'Strike-throwing is a priority' for Owens in Triple A

henry-owens-red-sox.jpg

Farrell: 'Strike-throwing is a priority' for Owens in Triple A

NEW YORK -- Following a six-walk effort Thursday in Chicago, Henry Owens found himself optioned back to Pawtucket Friday, removed from the Red Sox rotation after three sub-par starts.

Owens lasted just three-plus innings Thursday, and allowed two runs. In three starts since being promoted to replace Joe Kelly in the Red Sox rotation, Owens walked 13 in 12 1/3 innings while allowing 13 hits for a ghastly 2.108 WHIP and a 5.11 ERA.

"Henry needs to go back and learn to command his fastball with more consistency,'' said John Farrell. "He's got an outstanding changeup that can get him back in some counts and get him away from some damage. But the strike-throwing is a priority here.''

In addition to wildness, Owens saw his velocity dip, with his fastball topping out at 90 mph most times.

But Farrell insisted there isn't a physical issue with the lefty.

"One thing that we can for sure rule out is health,'' said Farrell. "There's no health issues at play here. I think when a pitcher's delivery is not in sync, he's not getting the most power out of it (in terms of velocity). And then, with the strike throwing, it becomes a confidence factor. I don't want to say he was tentative or it was a lack of aggressiveness, but I think when you're feeling for pitches to try to get them in the strike zone, there might be a tentativeness that takes over.''

Owens has a quality changeup that can throw off hitters' timing and get weak contact, as happened Thursday night. But that pitch is only effective when he can set it up more with his fastball.

"That creates a little more margin for error,'' said Farrell of the changeup as a weapon, "but you've got to be in the strike zone first.''

Owens seemed to regress some from last year, when he was 4-4 in 11 starts with a 4.57 ERA. He pitched into the eighth inning in three straight starts in September.

"It's the second time he's been in the big leagues with us,'' said Farrell. "When the opportunity presents, you take it and run with it. I felt last year, he pitched effectively. He pitched very good at times. There were a couple of starts where he didn't have his best stuff, but he found his way into the sixth or into the seventh inning. That was (what we were hoping for) last year. OK, he's battling but he's finding a way to get through it.

"As far as his opportunity, I'm sure he'll back to us at some point.''

Asked if the Red Sox had expected more from Owens, Farrell didn't mince words.

"Based on what he showed at this level last year, yes,'' said Farrell.

Owens was replaced on the roster by Sean O'Sullivan, who was with the club here Friday afternoon and in the bullpen, at least temporarily.

He could take Owens's spot in the rotation Tuesday.

"He's a candidates, yes,'' said Farrell.

O'Sullivan is with his fifth different organization, having pitched with the Angels, Royals, Padres and Phillies.

He signed with the Red Sox last winter as a free agent, in part attracted by the presence of pitching coordinator Brian Bannister, a one-time teammate of O'Sullivan with the Royals. Bannister has taken an innovative, analytical approach to pitching and has already helped O'Sullivan.

"When he was in (spring training) camp,'' said Farrell, "he showed more arm strength than anticipated. The strike-throwing has been above-average for him. A veteran guy who's pitched at this level for extended outings. We felt like that dependability and durability were also a factor in getting him here.''

Farrell credited an improved cutter and "more consistent location down in the strike one,'' accounting for O'Sullivan's improved results at Triple A.

O'Sullivan wasn't on the 40-man roster until Friday, when he was added. The Sox shifted third baseman Pablo Sandoval to the 60-day DL to make room.

 

Tonight's lineups: Red Sox vs. Yankees

red-sox-logo-110415.jpg

Tonight's lineups: Red Sox vs. Yankees

Rick Porcello attempts to increase his record to 6-0 as he starts tonight for the Red Sox against the Yankees in the opener of their three-game series in New York.

Tonight's lineups:

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DB
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Brock Holt LF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Christian Vazquez C
---
Rick Porcello P

YANKEES
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Carlos Beltran DH
Starlin Castro 2B
Aaron Hicks RF
Didi Gregorius SS
Ronnie Torreyes 3B
---
Michael Pineda P

 

McAdam: It's early, but there's good signs with the Red Sox

2016-05-06t13-26-56.633z-1280x720.jpg

McAdam: It's early, but there's good signs with the Red Sox

Sean McAdam talks with Toucher & Rich about the good start the Red Sox have gotten off to this season, playing well on the road and for the most part taking care of business.