Notes: Wakefield disappointed in start

175737.jpg

Notes: Wakefield disappointed in start

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
BALTIMORE -- Tim Wakefield understood the situation.

The Red Sox were short on sleep and relievers Monday night, with Daniel Bard, Matt Albers and Alfredo Aceves all unavailable due to heavy workload over the weekend.

Wakefield would have liked to take the Red Sox deep into the game Monday. But he was done after 4 23 innings, unable to keep his knuckleball down in the strike zone when he needed to most.

After Josh Reddick misplayed a ball hit by Derrek Lee into a two-run triple, the Sox stormed back and gave Wakefield a 6-2 lead in the fifth.

But Wakefield gave it back in the bottom of the inning, thanks to two homers and a two-run double.

"Obviously, (the bullpen depth) was on my mind and I'm disappointed I couldn't get us into the sixth or seventh inning," said Wakefield. "It's something that I pride myself in and it's something I want to try to accomplish and give those guys a rest and I wasn't able to do it tonight."

Wakefield's knuckleball showed great depth in the early innings but later, he left balls up to J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones and paid for it with homers.

"The pitch to Hardy, I was trying to throw a first-pitch strike and left it up," said Wakefield. "The one to Jones, I overthrew it and it didn't do anything."

Monday morning, he snapped a 0-0 tie with a game-winning single. Monday night, he snapped a 7-7 tie and hit a two-run double to give the Red Sox a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

It doesn't matter the score or the inning. Dustin Pedroia likes being up in big spots.

It wasn't easy, either, as he faced reliever Mark Worrell, who throws sidearm and hadn't pitched in the big leagues in three seasons.

"I was just trying to see it," said Pedroia. "He kind of hides the ball and then it gets on you. In that situation, I was just trying so hard to get a ball in the air because it's sinking so much. I was lucky enough to do that."

Pedroia has a 16-game hitting streak, the longest ongoing streak in the league.

"I'm just trying to have good at-bats, get on base," said Pedroia. "That's my job."

Both big hits the last two games were hit to the opposite field, but Pedroia said that wasn't by design.

"My approach is to try hit it where it's pitched," he said.

"Both (pitches) were away and I'm just trying to put it on the barrel."

Carl Crawford (left hamstring) rejoined the team Monday and was back in the lineup in his familiar sixth spot in the batting order.

He immediately made some contributions, collecting two hits in five at-bats and two runs scored.

"You just never know how things are going to turn out (at the plate)," said Crawford, who has faced live pitching only twice in the last four and a half weeks. "I thought I was going to be a little late (with his swing), but I was able to get good timing and get good pitches to handle and find a few holes."

To make room for Crawford's activation, the Sox optioned Drew Sutton back to Pawtucket.

Crawford missed almost exactly a month with a hamstring strain, but had two rehab appearances over the weekend with Pawtucket.

"I just want to see if I could move around,'' said Crawford before the game. "I felt real good out there, so I feel comfortable returning to the lineup. I'm real excited to be back on the field. It's been a while since I've been back out there, so just to be back in the action and on the field, I'm definitely excited about it.''

Crawford said before the game that the one thing he still needs to work on is his swing and timing at the plate.

"When it comes to the offense, that's the only thing I need to (work on), my timing at the plate,'' he said.

Crawford said he was "pretty much'' looking at his return as a chance to have a second start with the Red Sox.

"I want to just put the first half behind me,'' he said, "and go forward. The team's still doing well so I'll just try to blend right in. I was starting to feel a lot better (before the injury). It's just one of those things.''

The Sox made a correction, noting that Jon Lester will return to the mound Monday July 25, and not Tuesday the 26th, as wasindicated Sunday.

Clay Buchholz threw from a distance of 120 feet Monday afternoon, with a side session scheduled in a few days.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Quotes, notes and stars: Hill snaps tie and 0-for-20 skid with one swing

red_sox_aaron_hill_083116.jpg

Quotes, notes and stars: Hill snaps tie and 0-for-20 skid with one swing

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 8-6 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday afternoon at Fenway Park:

QUOTES:

"After we got him an inning (Tuesday) night because he hadn't pitched in six days, we were not going to with the quick turnaround and get four outs from him,'' - John Farrell on whether Craig Kimbrel was available for the eighth inning.

"Taking three weeks off in the middle of the season is not easy for anybody. And the biggest thing with my shoulder is just trusting that it's strong and healthy.'' - Steven Wright on his struggles since coming off the DL.

"In a situation like that, you know they're going to try to get you to roll over on a double play. That's his job. For me, (my job) is to see the ball deep and put a good swing on it.'' - Aaron Hill, who had been 0-for-20 before singling home the go-ahead run in the eighth.

 

NOTES:

* The win was the Red Sox' 29th come-from-behind win of the year.

* The Sox improved to 13-3 against left-handed starters

* Hanley Ramirez became just the third Red Sox hitter since 1930 to erase a three-run deficit with a two-out grand slam

* Ramirez has knocked in 33 runs in his last 28 Fenway games.

* Dustin Pedroia enjoyed his fourth game with three or more hits in his last five games.

* Pedroia is 18 for his last 24 at Fenway.

* Jackie Bradley has a .941 OPS at home this season.

* Mookie Betts has reached safely in each of his last 19 games.

* Betts has 11 outfield assists this year and three have come against Tampa Bay

* Each one of Xander Bogaerts' last nine homers have come with two strikes.

 

STARS:

1) Hanley Ramirez

Trailing 4-1, the Red Sox got a grand slam from Ramirez to give them their first lead of the game in the fifth. He later walked and scored the go-ahead run in the eighth.

2) Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley had been scuffling and dropped back down to the No. 9 spot in the lineup, but broke out with a single, homer, double and two RBI.

3) Aaron Hill

Hill played a fine game at third defensively, and snapped an 0-for-20 skid with an opposite-field, run-scoring single to snap a 6-6 tie.

 

First impressions from Red Sox’ 8-6 win over Rays

boston-red-sox-hanley-ramirez-083116.jpg

First impressions from Red Sox’ 8-6 win over Rays

BOSTON - First impressions from the Red Sox' 8-6 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday afternoon at Fenway Park:

*The Red Sox got some much-needed contributions from the bottom of the order.

Aaron Hill was 0-for-20 when he came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth, but slapped a tie-breaking single to right to put the Red Sox ahead to stay.

Batting ninth was Jackie Bradley Jr. who was 3-for-17 when he singled in the fifth, homered in the sixth and doubled home a run in the ninth, right after Hill's heroics.

The Sox have been carried offensively by the top four or five in their lineup, but that's a tough way to win.

At some point, others in the batting order have to contribute. The timing couldn't have been better than for that to start on Wednesday afternoon.

* Why was Junichi Tazawa throwing fastballs ahead 0-and-2?

Tazawa entered with the bases loaded and Logan Forsythe due. After two quick strikes, Tazawa kept throwing fastballs to Forsythe, who took the second one and lined it back up the middle for a two-run single.

Tazawa's best pitch is his split-finger, and it seemed like that would have been the more prudent choice there -- to get Forsythe to chase a pitch out of the zone.

It's doubtful that there were concerns about a split bouncing in the dirt and getting away from catcher Sandy Leon.

Strange.

*Hustle counts.

The Rays lost out on a run in the third inning and it changed the game.

 With two outs, the Rays had Tim Beckham at second and Logan Forsythe at first when Kevin Kiermaier stroked a line drive to the gap in right-center.

Beckham jogged toward the plate, but at the same time, Kiermaier attempted to stretch a single into a double. His throw arrived in time for a tag to be placed on him as he slid into second.

Worse, from the Rays' standpoint, Beckham hadn't crossed the plate before the tag was applied at second, so what should have been an automatic run was not a run at all for Tampa Bay.

 

 

 

 

Sounds like Moncada will join Red Sox on Thursday

Sounds like Moncada will join Red Sox on Thursday

BOSTON - Without saying so directly, John Farrell broadly hinted that the Red Sox appear ready to call up Yoan Moncada as rosters expand from the current 25-man limit Thursday.

Farrell first noted that the Red Sox "need better production'' at third base, where both Travis Shaw and Aaron Hill have struggled mightily at the position.

Moncada, a natural second baseman, was shifted to third base earlier this month at Double A Portland. Moncada has a slash line of .285/.388/.547 with 11 homers and 27 RBI in 44 games.

Asked specifically about the chances of a call-up for Moncada, Farrell said: "We've talked about Yoan. And not just as a pinch-runner. It's an exciting young player, an extremely talented guy. There's all positive reviews and evaluations of him.

"When that major league experience is going to initiate, time will tell that. But in terms of playing the position of third base [in the big leagues], that conversation has been had.''

Previously, the Red Sox had resisted bringing Moncada to the big leagues, worried that he wouldn't be in the lineup often enough to continue his development. The Sox didn't want him to miss out on additional experience in the minors by playing only part-time in the majors.

But now that the minor league seasons are about to end -- Portland finishes Labor Day -- there's nothing in the minors for Moncada to miss.

"This is a different scenario than if it were July or early August,'' said Farrell. "The minor league season ends [soon], so is there benefit to him just being here? The answer to that is yes. Do you weigh playing 'X' number of games per week versus what he could be doing at Portland or Pawtucket? Well, that goes away [with the minor league regular seasons end].

"So, again, by all accounts, there's nothing but positives that could come out of experience here -- if that were to happen.''

 Moncada's promotion would be similar to the one experience by Xander Bogaerts in 2013, who was brought up in the final week of August 2013 and remained with the club all the way through the end of the team's World Series run that fall, taking playing time from struggling third baseman Will Middlebrooks.

 "For those who have been around this team for a number of years,'' said Farrell, "teams that have had success have always had an injection of young players late in the season that have helped carry the team through the postseason. I think Yoan would be in a similar category to when Pedey [Dustin Pedroia], when Jake [Jacoby Ellsbury] came into the picture. And Andrew (Benintendi) is already here, so I wouldn't separate [Moncada] out from that at all.

"In fact, he's a direct comparison [to those cases].’’

Farrell agreed that the arrival of a young, highly-touted player can inject some energy into a team in the throes of a pennant race.

"Absolutely, there is,'' said Farrell. "You've got a newness element. You've got, likely, above-average speed. You've got athleticism. You've got the unknown across the field on how does a given [opposing] team attack a given guy.

"In the cases we've talked about, it has been beneficial to us for the young player to come up. They find a way to contribute in a meaningful role. 

Without saying that [Moncada's promotion] is a definite, there's a lot [of positives]going for it.''

Farrell also acknowledged that the Sox have already held internal discussions about how Moncada would be utilized, given that the switch-hitter has been far more productive from the left side of the plate.

"We've talked about what's strong side, how do you look to best ease him in, so to speak,'' said Farrell. "We thought that with Benintendi, how do we best ease him in. Well, he blew the doors off of that one [with his early success]. So, if it happens, and if begins here soon, you'll all be aware.''

Farrell said the reports of Moncada's transition to third base have been encouraging despite three errors in his first nine games there.

"He's shown good range, an above-average arm,'' said Farrell. "Where there will be ongoing work and continued development, just as there was at second base, is the ball hit straight at him. That's just pure technique and fundamental positioning with hands and feet.

"But as far as range to his glove side, moving to third base, that seemingly has not been that big of a challenge for him.''