Notes: Scutaro to hit leadoff in Saturday return

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Notes: Scutaro to hit leadoff in Saturday return

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins InsiderFollow @hackswithhaggs

KANSAS CITY Marco Scutaro was attempting to push the Sox staff to let him play on Friday night against the Royals, but instead the Sox shortstop will rejoin the Boston lineup Saturday night and hit leadoff in place of the injured Jacoby Ellsbury.

Scutaro had missed five straight games with the bad back, but the Sox have benefited from newfound depth there with both Mike Aviles and Jed Lowrie able to fill in while Bostons starting shortstop worked the kinks out of his back.

Weve thrown Aviles out there every day," Francona said. "His actions at shortstop are actually really good, and I think the at-bats have been very good for him. We didnt have to play Jed today, so Aviles versatility has been huge. His versatility at the plate and in the field really helps . . . even more than the numbers. To a manager its more important because you know you can throw him out there anywhere, and then you can do a lot of different things.

I think Scutaro wanted to play yesterday and I think waiting another day was a pretty good idea.

It appears that Scutaro is on the other side of the back issues that have hampered him, and there should be a clear stretch coming for a player thats been hot enough at the bat to put up .318.371.409 numbers since the All-Star break.

When Scutaro was presented with the scenario that the 100 plus degree heat of Texas in their upcoming series might help his back loosen up further, the dry-witted infielder took it one step further.

Yeah, and I might melt, said Scutaro.

David Ortizhas beenfreed from the boot on his right foot, and will take some swings in the batting cage Saturday afternoon in a good, progressive step coming back from bursitis in his right heel. The Sox designated hitter is probably still a few days away from returning to the lineup, but Bostons big slugger is trending in the right direction.

Hes going to hit today and he does feel good, which is good. Hell hit and start that progression, and thats good news, said Terry Francona. He might just be in the cage. I dont know you can put exact timetables on how these things happen. We hope the boot is gone for good. I know we dont want to go back and forth with it.Ortiz tweeted after the session and promised he'll be back in the lineup soon: "Hit in the cage today and I feel good ... I will be back soon Red Sox Nation!" wrote Ortiz from his @davidortiz twitter account on Saturday afternoon.

Lefty Andrew Miller responded well after tossing 5 23 innings in a spot start Friday night, and Sox manager Terry Francona indicated the tall southpaw will get another start at some point in the next few weeks. Miller is 5-1 for Boston this season while stepping in amid injuries to Sox starters, and Francona said his next starting gig will be utilized to maximize the extra rest given to Bostons five starting pitchers. Millers spot start could be used to give all the starters an additional day of rest, or it could give one of the starters a needed blow down the stretch after piling up some large innings totals.

As he recovers from his start well slide him back into the bullpen and then use him for another start at some point, said Miller. We just dont know when. I think we want to see how some of the other guys are doing, if a guy needs a break and see how the schedule works out moving forward.

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

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

Quotes, notes and stars: Pedroia was focused on winning, not streak

BOSTON -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 8-3 win over the Royals:

QUOTES

“I hadn’t really thought about it. Trying to win games. It’s late in the year . . . I don’t really have time to sit back and pat myself on the back for anything. We’re trying to win as a team.” - Dustin Pedroia on the importance of the 11-for-11 stretch in his career.

“It’s fun. It’s why you go to work in December, January, February. It’s all the work you put in up to this point. It feels good to go out there and get the results you expect to get, especially against a team like [the Royals] who is hot as they are right now.” - David Price on pitching meaningful games with a playoff-like atmosphere.

“Yeah, yeah we [knew about the streak] . . .  It was an awesome roll and it was fun to see . . . Every time I went up to hit, I let Salvador Perez know.” - Xander Bogaerts on Dustin Pedroia’s 11-for-11 streak.

“I think we’ve been able to handle velocity very well. We’ve got good bat-speed in out lineup, and we’re able to handle that.” - John Farrell on the offense thriving against good pitching.

 

NOTES

* David Ortiz played in his 1,000th game at Fenway Park, becoming the fifth player to do so.

* Ortiz also became the first player ever to play 2,000 games as the designated hitter.

* Mookie Betts scored his 100th run of the season off his 29th home run of the year, joining Fred Lynn, Johnny Pesky and Ted Williams as the only players to reach 100 runs before turning 24.

* The Red Sox hit back-to-back home runs for the fourth time this season with Betts and Hanley Ramirez going yard in the fifth.

* With his 2-for-4 day at the plate, Jackie Bradley Jr. improved to 34-for-94 (.362) batting ninth.

 

STARS

1) Dustin Pedroia

Pedroia finished 4-for-5, extending his streak to 11 hits in 11 at-bats, finishing one shy of tying the MLB record.

2) David Price

Price logged his fourth straight quality start with his six-inning, two-run start. He also dropped his ERA below 4.00 for the first time since his Opening Day start with Boston.

3) Salvador Perez

Perez finished 2-for-3 with two home runs. Saturday marked only the second multi-home run game of his career.

First impressions: Price, Pedroia lead Red Sox to 8-3 win over Royals

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First impressions: Price, Pedroia lead Red Sox to 8-3 win over Royals

BOSTON -- First impressions from the Red Sox 8-3 win over the Kansas City Royals:

 

David Price has found a groove.

Price finally brought his ERA below 4.00.

He’d been about that mark since his second start of the season. Twenty-six starts later, he finally reached the mark.

Saturday’s start marked Price’s fourth-straight quality start. Price will soon eclipse the 200-strikeout, reaching 186 K’s with his seven-strikeout performance.

Although the lefty hasn’t been at his best throughout much of the year, he’s caught fire of late.

Possibly at the most important part of the season, too.

 

Dustin Pedroia just missed making history, can’t buy an out.

Boston’s second baseman entered Saturday with seven hits in his last seven at-bats. He stretched that streak to 11-for-11 with a 4-for-4 game.

He had the chance to go 12-for-12 in the eighth, but weakly grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.

He’s also the first Red Sox player with three straight four-hit games at Fenway Park since 1913.

Boston’s second baseman continues to prove that his struggles in recent years were directly related to injuries, not diminishing performance.

 

The offense passed a big test.

It might’ve appeared that Danny Duffy was a middle-of-the-road pitcher with the way Red Sox hitters tattooed him in Saturday’s win.

But the right only had one loss in 19 starts, with a 2.66 ERA (2.61 as a starter).

Between the long balls and Dustin Pedroia’s incessant ways of late, they ballooned his ERA to 3.01.

A respectable number, still, but a jump of nearly a half of a run.

 

Sandy Leon’s in a minor cold spell.

Possibly the greatest story of Boston’s 2016 offense, Leon hasn’t had too many struggles along the way.

But after finishing 0-for-4 Saturday night, he’s only 2-for-21 (.095) in his last five games.

Saturday also marked only the third time all season where he was held hitless in back-to-back games.

These things happen to everyone, but it was starting to look like Leon didn’t fall under the category of “everyone.”