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Red Sox lineup: Grady Sizemore leads off, Mike Carp in left field

04.23.14 at 3:57 pm ET
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With Daniel Nava having been sent down by the Red Sox on Wednesday, Mike Carp will get a start in left field against Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda. Grady Sizemore will hit leadoff — a responsibility that he is likely to part with starting Thursday, with the anticipated return of Shane Victorino from the disabled list.

Nava went 1-for-3 with a homer against Pineda earlier this year; Carp has yet to face him, while Sizemore is 0-for-3 against the hulking righty. Pineda will face off against John Lackey, who will be looking to improve upon his prior start against the Yankees in which he allowed a career-high four homers.

For complete batter vs. pitcher matchup histories, click here.

RED SOX LINEUP

Grady Sizemore, RF

Dustin Pedroia, 2B

David Ortiz, DH

Mike Napoli, 1B

Mike Carp, LF

A.J. Pierzynski, C

Xander Bogaerts, SS

Brock Holt, 3B

Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

John Lackey, RHP

John Farrell on Dale & Holley: Red Sox’ search for lineup stability may subside with return of Shane Victorino

04.23.14 at 3:25 pm ET
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Red Sox manager John Farrell , in his weekly interview on WEEI’s Dale & Holley show, confirmed that the Sox informed Nava last night that he was being optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. After hitting .303 with a .385 OBP last year, Nava has struggled to a .149 average and .240 OBP.

“That’s never a fun conversation. I think he was certainly disappointed by the news he was going to be optioned back. He was a big part of this offense last year, particularly as a left-handed hitter. But we’ve got to get him back on track. The at-bats and the consistency of at-bats is not there right now as it was a year ago. There’s a need for a little bit more of a consistent two-strike approach, and he needs to go back and continue to get reps as a right-handed hitter,” said Farrell. “We feel like he’s going to contribute to this offense before the year is out. We’ve just got to get him back hitting with confidence and just the overall game played with more confidence.”

Nava will be replaced on the roster by right-hander Alex Wilson on Wednesday, but Shane Victorino is expected to return as soon as Thursday. While the 33-year-old has struggled during his minor league rehab assignment (1-for-11, an infield hit), Farrell believes that Victorino will immediately change the team’s dynamic.

“He will have an impact I think the day he walks onto the field for us. One, physically, he feels good. That’s the biggest question that we had to answer, just the ability to go back-to-back days. The durability, that is there,” said Farrell. “His defense impacts every game he plays in right field. So, first and foremost, where we’ve had some balls that have come back to bite us a little bit in right field, that will be the impact on the defensive side.

“Timing-wise at the plate, we know that will continue as he gets at-bats here at the big league level,” he added. “Saying that he’s going to step back in and he’ll be a .400 on-base guy, that’s not the expectation. But I think we miss the defense. We miss the energy that he brings, and the overall attitude he adds to the edge of this club once we take the field.”

Victorino’s return could help bring the Sox a measure of lineup stability that has been absent. The loss of Victorino — the primary occupant of the second spot in the Red Sox batting order last year — and the departure of leadoff constant Jacoby Ellsbury in free agency has left the Sox in a state of some lineup disorientation, with five different leadoff hitters and 19 different lineups — none of which has been featured more than twice.  (The lineup featured by Farrell on Wednesday will be the Sox’ 20th of the year.) Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Clay Buchholz, daniel nava, Dustin Pedroia, John Farrell

Red Sox to call up right-hander Alex Wilson, option Daniel Nava

04.23.14 at 12:48 pm ET
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An industry source confirmed a report by WEEI’s Lou Merloni that, with the Red Sox pitching staff taxed by a combined 11 innings of work on Monday and Tuesday, the team will call up right-hander Alex Wilson from Triple-A Pawtucket for Wednesday night’s game. In order to make room on the roster for Wilson, Daniel Nava will be optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. Shane Victorino will thus wait until at least Thursday for his activation from the disabled list.

Nava, a key contributor to the Red Sox’ title run in 2013 when he hit .303 with a .385 OBP and .445 slugging mark while playing four positions, never enjoyed consistent production in the season’s first three-plus weeks this year. He hit .149 with a .240 OBP and .269 slugging mark.

‘€œWe’€™re trying to get him going offensively,’€ Sox manager John Farrell said on Tuesday. ‘€œHe’€™s probably swung the bat a little bit more earlier in counts than we’€™ve seen in the past and that might be maybe some reflection of the current level of confidence. When he’€™s squared up some balls, he hasn’€™t seen the fruits of that too much. Like all players, they go through a little bit of a peak and valley and we’€™re trying to get him out of that right now. Fundamentally I can’€™t say it’€™s any one thing that he’€™s breaking down from a swing mechanic standpoint.’€

Wilson, who made his big league debut last year, has made eight scoreless appearances in Pawtucket this year, most recently when he recorded a season-high four outs on Monday. He’s struck out nine and walked five while showing an ability to get a considerable number of outs on the ground, effectively employing the two-seamer he developed last year while favoring his injured thumb that denied him his typical power on his four-seam fastball.

Victorino completed his third rehab game on Tuesday in Triple-A Pawtucket, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He has gone 1-for-11 with an infield single during his rehab assignment.

Read More: alex wilson, daniel nava, Shane Victorino,

Red Sox minor league roundup: Rubby De La Rosa overpowering, Mookie Betts unstoppable, Manuel Margot mashes, Aaron Kurcz returns

04.23.14 at 10:55 am ET
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Rubby De La Rosa made his fourth straight dominant start in Pawtucket on Tuesday. (AP)

Rubby De La Rosa made his fourth straight dominant start in Pawtucket on Tuesday. (AP)

A brief look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Tuesday:

TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX: 7-5 LOSS VS. BUFFALO (BLUE JAYS)

(BOX)

– Dominance remained routine for Rubby De La Rosa. The right-hander fired another six dazzling innings, allowing one run on just three hits (all singles) while punching out seven and walking one. His control wasn’t as precise as it had been — just 53 of his 89 pitches (60 percent) found the strike zone — but he still managed to overmatch Buffalo, which couldn’t make any decent contact against him. He recorded eight outs on the ground, with a pair of double plays in the mix, and through his first four starts of the year, his performance has been the most impressive of any pitcher in the Red Sox system this year.

De La Rosa has logged at least five innings in each of his starts and has yielded no more than one run in an outing. He has walked two or fewer in all four of his starts, and now has 21 strikeouts (8.3 per nine innings) and just four walks (1.6 per nine innings) in 22 1/3 innings. Opponents are hitting .151 against him, with left-handed hitters experiencing only slightly less misery (.194/.256/.250) than their right-handed compatriots (.108/.150/.135). He has yet to give up a homer. Indeed, he’s given up only three extra-base hits — all doubles. He’s now recorded 56 of his 68 outs this year (82.4 percent) by strikeout or groundball.

He hasn’t just been beating his opponents. He hasn’t given them a chance. He’s shown a tremendous three-pitch mix (fastball, change, slider) that he can use to throw strikes. His pace, sometimes lethargic last year in a fashion so extreme that it raised questions about his focus, has picked up considerably this year, a sign of his growing confidence.

And so, at 25, he has made the most compelling case imaginable that he deserves a shot to start in the big leagues. He only needs to wait for the opportunity to present itself.

Shane Victorino, in the third and perhaps last game of his rehab assignment, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, and he’s 1-for-11 with an infield single in Pawtucket. However, he got tested by a number of plays in right field on Tuesday. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: aaron kurcz, manuel margot, mookie betts, rubby de la rosa

Wednesday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: John Lackey vs. Michael Pineda

04.23.14 at 9:54 am ET
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The Red Sox will host the Yankees for the middle game of a three-game series Wednesday evening as John Lackey gets the nod against Michael Pineda.

When he takes to the mound on Wednesday, Lackey will look to break a recent streak in which he has given up six earned runs and picked up the loss in each of his last two appearances. Lackey’€™s last outing on Friday started out rough as he gave up a leadoff double to Baltimore’€™s Nick Markakis. Despite a replay that appeared to show the ball landing outside the line, the call on the field was upheld, and the Red Sox were down 1-0 by the end of the inning. The right-hander ultimately gave up six runs on 10 hits, four walks and six strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings in what became an 8-4 loss to the Orioles.

“I thought he had good stuff tonight,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the game (via MLB.com). “He managed their lineup with a couple of walks that were instead of giving in. They had a number of ground balls that found some holes; bunched some hits together. Doesn’t get a break in that first inning, on the double, then the infield base hit by [Adam] Jones. The [two runs in the fifth] inning, that was a little bit too much at that point to overcome.”

Lackey’€™s other six-run outing was against the Yankees on April 12. Lackey gave up 10 hits, four of which were home runs, in 5 2/3 innings. Carlos Beltran and Alfonso Soriano each had one homer against Lackey while Brian McCann went yard twice during the game. The 35-year-old has gone a career 10-11 with a 4.99 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP in 28 starts against New York.

Unlike Lackey, Pineda comes into the matchup having given up no more than one earned run in any of his starts this season. In his most recent outing, a tilt against the Cubs on April 16, Pineda gave up four hits and one walk with three strikeouts over six shutout innings on the mound.

Pineda created controversy in his last outing against the Red Sox, a 4-1 Yankees win on April 10, as he apparently had pine tar on his hand and arm. The 25-year-old gave up just one run on four hits with two walks and seven strikeouts during the appearance. The one run came off of a solo shot by Daniel Nava during the seventh inning. Before the 2014 season, Pineda only had one appearance against the Red Sox — a 4 1/3-inning loss in which he gave up seven runs on eight hits.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: john lackey, Michael Pineda,

Inconsistent defense proving an early obstacle for Red Sox

04.23.14 at 12:35 am ET
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Grady Sizemore contributed to a woeful defensive night for the Red Sox. (AP)

Grady Sizemore contributed to a woeful defensive night for the Red Sox. (AP)

While the Yankees flashed some leather in both the infield and outfield, the Red Sox‘ subpar defense played a critical role in their 9-3 defeat on Tuesday night.

Though Jon Lester wasn’t necessarily the recipient of a tough luck loss, shaky defense behind him led to a total of five unearned runs on the evening.

“Errors are part of the game, mistakes are part of the game, and tonight that hurt us,” Lester said. “Other nights, we’ve been able to make up for them or we were able to play exceptionally well. I’ll never fault a guy for making an error, I know that the effort is always there.”

With two outs in the fifth inning, Mike Napoli missed a line drive off the bat of Brian Roberts that was hit his way, resulting in an error and allowing a run to score. Right fielder Grady Sizemore then collected the ball and threw to home (though it was off the mark) while Brian McCann, who advanced from first to second on the error, strayed away from second base towards the dugout. The miscues opened the floodgates for the Yankees, who took advantage of the second chance and scored three more runs thanks to a two-run double from Ellsbury and an RBI single from Derek Jeter.

Napoli made no excuses for the misplay, assuring that the finger injury he suffered last week was not a factor.

“I just didn’t make the play,” Napoli said. “It was a little weird…McCann was on first, and I kind of lost it for a second. I thought I was on it but I have to make that play. That was a key situation in the game…It kind of disappeared on me for a little bit. I have to stick with it and see it into my glove.” Read the rest of this entry »

Red Sox likely to promote a pitcher, wait to activate Shane Victorino

04.23.14 at 12:07 am ET
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Right-hander Allen Webster could be brought up by the Red Sox on Wednesday. (AP)

Right-hander Allen Webster could be brought up by the Red Sox on Wednesday. (AP)

The Red Sox thought that they might activate Shane Victorino from the disabled list as soon as Wednesday, following the third game of his rehab assignment in Triple-A Pawtucket (in which the outfielder went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts). But with the Sox having gotten just 2 1/3 innings from Clay Buchholz on Monday and 4 2/3 frames from Jon Lester on Tuesday, the team felt that a taxed bullpen that had worked a combined 11 innings over those two games might require reinforcements. As such, manager John Farrell said that the team might consider a pitcher instead of activating Victorino on Wednesday.

“We’ve got to take a look,” said Farrell. “We may have a pitching move because of how deep we’ve had to go in the bullpen the last couple of days, so Shane is not a given for [Wednesday].”

If the Sox make a move for a pitcher, an obvious choice would right-hander Allen Webster, who is the scheduled starter for Pawtucket on Wednesday. Webster is on the 40-man roster, and he has some experience in the big leagues as a reliever at the end of last year. He could provide the Sox with length if they endure another game that requires the services of the ‘pen. The other option would likely be Alex Wilson, who pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings on Monday to give him eight scoreless appearances (spanning eight frames) this year in Pawtucket. Wilson would be able to give more than three outs, though he’s unlikely stretched out to the point of being able to provide long relief if needed, at a time when both Chris Capuano and Burke Badenhop likely will be unavailable.

None of the other options on the 40-man roster seem to fit for a one-day callup. Drake Britton pitched on Tuesday, making him a less-than-ideal callup. Brandon Workman started on Monday, so would not be a consideration. Anthony Ranaudo has never pitched in relief, and he’d be pitching on three days’ rest. Rubby De La Rosa — the best pitcher in Pawtucket to date — started on Tuesday night.

As for a move to open a roster spot for a pitcher and then Victorino, the Sox haven’t announced any decisions, but outfielder Daniel Nava met with Farrell behind closed doors following Tuesday’s game. Nava’s endured a season-long struggle, hitting .149/.240/.269, and he’s been out of the starting lineup in two of the last four games, including Tuesday night against right-hander Masahiro Tanaka.

“We’re trying to get him going offensively and [Jonny Gomes] gives us a little bit more of that right now,” Farrell explained before the game of the decision to start Gomes over Nava. “He’s probably swung the bat a little bit more earlier in counts than we’ve seen in the past and that might be maybe some reflection of the current level of confidence. When he’s squared up some balls, he hasn’t seen the fruits of that too much. Like all players, they go through a little bit of a peak and valley and we’re trying to get him out of that right now. Fundamentally I can’t say it’s any one thing that he’s breaking down from a swing mechanic standpoint.”

Nava has two options remaining, and so he can be sent down without exposing him to waivers.

Read More: alex wilson, allen webster, daniel nava, Shane Victorino
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