Peavy drew a crowd; other moves loom

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
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TORONTO -- The Blue Jays, of course, won. The Rays won their seventh straight. The Yankees won a rain-shortened affair. And although the division-leading Orioles lost in Anaheim, the Red Sox were assured of being in last place when they go to Tropicana Field Friday for this weekend’s series against the Rays.

They fell back to seven games under .500 (47-54) with 61 to go, seven of those games coming before the July 31 trading deadline. The Sox had hoped this 13-game stretch against division rivals would give some closure to the back-and-forth of whether they can still contend this season or should retool for 2015 and beyond.

Jake Peavy remains the most likely trading piece. Scouts from the Pirates, Brewers, Giants and Royals all were in attendance for Peavy’s start Tuesday night. The Cardinals, who had scouted him earlier, were not, but one major-league source insisted they retain some interest.

The White Sox have a scout here too, Chicago perhaps looking to interest the Red Sox in outfielder Dayan Viciedo. The Royals, in the market for a right-handed bat, also have been linked to Jonny Gomes. Teams in the market for relief are hoping that the Sox might move Andrew Miller, who is three months away from free agency. Felix Doubront is available. Questions remain whether the Sox would move Stephen Drew, call up Will Middlebrooks, who homered again Wednesday night for Pawtucket, and move Xander Bogaerts back to short.

These are all situations awaiting some resolution. The trade market has begun to accelerate; if there is to be deal-making by the Sox, it should be coming soon.

A hole in the Sox lineup -- no Holt

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
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TORONTO -- There was something noticeably different about John Farrell’s lineup card Wednesday night.

Brock Holt was nowhere to be found. Not in left field, right field or center field. Not at first base, second base, short or third. And not batting leadoff, something Holt had done in each of the team’s previous 54 games, a span in which he’d delivered more hits (77) than any player in the game.

The rookie who is the only player in the big leagues this season to have appeared at every position but pitcher and catcher was on the bench, manager John Farrell having decided after Holt failed to hit the ball out of the infield four times Tuesday night that he could use a night off. Especially with a day game following on Thursday.

“He’s played every inning since sometime back in May (May 23 to be exact),” Farrell said. “The last couple of days, you’re starting to see it a little bit in his play. He’s deserving of a day off.”

Holt will be back in the lineup Thursday, Farrell said. Shane Victorino batted leadoff and singled and scored ahead of David Ortiz’s home run in the first, then was retired on his last four at-bats in Boston's 6-4 loss.

Buchholz escapes injury, can't dodge loss

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
11:56
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TORONTO -- There was a dazed aspect to Clay Buchholz’s pitching Wednesday night, and that was even before he took a comebacker from Munenori Kawasaki off the side of his head.

The Boston Red Sox barely had time to savor the 3-0 lead David Ortiz gave them with his fourth home run in three nights before Buchholz gave it all back in the bottom of the first, foreshadowing what would become a 6-4 Sox defeat to the Toronto Blue Jays.

"I’ll take the blame for this one, for sure," Buchholz said.

[+] EnlargeClay Buchholz
Peter Llewellyn/USA TODAY SportsXander Bogaerts checks on Clay Buchholz, who was hit near the temple with a comebacker in Toronto's three-run first inning.
With a chance to put the Sox back in a winning mode, Buchholz instead went Jose Reyes single, Melky Cabrera four-pitch walk and Jose Bautista RBI double to the first three Toronto batters. The Sox cut down one run at the plate on a fielder’s choice, but Bautista beat Mike Napoli’s throw to the plate for a second run and Kawasaki kept the inning alive with his base hit off Buchholz’s noggin, Josh Thole followed with a ground-rule double, and the game was tied.

"I was lucky to get out of it without giving up more than I did," Buchholz said.

He also was fortunate to escape injury on the comebacker that missed his glove.

"Funny," he said. "As a pitcher, when the ball is hit at you. it looks like it’s coming back a thousand miles an hour or really slow. I felt like I got my glove up, but I was sort of falling away and it went over my glove."

The ball struck him in the temple, said Buchholz, who expressed relief it did not hit him in the face.

"I was dazed, for sure," said the right-hander, who was attended to by manager John Farrell and a trainer but remained in the game after throwing a couple of practice tosses. "Any time you’re hit by the ball, it’s going to take a second."

Farrell said he was satisfied that Buchholz could remain in the game.

"We checked him between innings," he said. "There were no lingering effects. For someone wondering about a concussion, he checked out with all field tests and was able to continue on."

But the night was anything but easy for Buchholz. Twice he hit the No. 9 batter in the Jays' order, Anthony Gose, with a pitch to lead off an inning. Buchholzwalked four, after walking just one over his previous five starts. And with the Sox leading 4-3 in the sixth, he left a changeup over the plate to Ryan Goins, who tripled into the gap to tie the score at 4-4 and scored the go-ahead run on a throwing error by Xander Bogaerts.

A 'Bogey' is not just a bad hole in golf

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
11:26
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TORONTO -- Before anyone offers Xander Bogaerts’ tie-breaking error Wednesday night as further proof that the Red Sox should have never moved him to third base, remember that he made game-deciding errors at shortstop too, like the throwing error he made on a cold night in Chicago in April that resulted in a walk-off White Sox win.

But it’s fair to say that the 21-year-old rookie, asked to transition to third two months into the season, has had his fair share of head-hanging moments, which was his reaction Wednesday night when he bounced a throw to first baseman Mike Napoli on what should have been an easy inning-ending play on Jose Reyes’s ground ball in the sixth.

[+] EnlargeXander Bogaerts
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty ImagesXander Bogaerts' throwing error in the sixth, which allowed the go-ahead run to score, overshadowed what was otherwise a good night for the rookie.
Instead, it allowed Ryan Goins, who had tripled in the tying run, to score the go-ahead run in what would become a 6-4 Blue Jays win, Boston’s second straight loss after a five-game winning streak.

“Reyes was probably still two full body lengths away from the bag,’’ manager John Farrell said. “It was that in-between play. The spin off the bat takes the ball to his backhand side, he fielded the ball in good shape, but it seemed like he didn’t get his feet set to deliver a fine throw.’’

With the Red Sox facing a 12:30 start Thursday, Bogaerts did not linger in the clubhouse after the game, though it’s likely he probably didn’t mind skipping an opportunity to discuss his misplay.

The error spoiled what might have otherwise been a good night for him: two hits, including a two-out RBI double in the fourth (his first double since June 6) that tied the score at 4, and a nice barehanded pickup and throw on Munenori Kawasaki’s sacrifice in the third.

Bogaerts has shown the ability to make reaction plays at third -- he charges the ball well and brings good hands to the position -- but he also has made nine errors in 38 starts at third, five of which have come on throws. In defensive WAR, which represents how many more games a team would win with him at the position rather than an average minor-league replacement, Bogaerts began the night with a minus 1.2.

The advanced defensive metrics weren’t kind to him at short either, assessing him a minus 1.2 at that position, but we’re talking a relatively small sample size at both short and third.

“Recognizing the number of errors, I can’t say there’s exactly one reason that links them all together,’’ Farrell said. “It’s not for [a lack of] effort or intensity in making a play.’’

The Red Sox are not worried that Bogaerts will give them at least average defense at whatever position he ultimately winds up at; his value primarily resides in his bat. And with five hits in 13 at-bats in the first three games of this series, they’re hopeful he’s emerging from what has been a horrific 36-game slump (18-for-136, .132 average entering play Wednesday).

Rapid Reaction: Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 4

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
9:50
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TORONTO -- The one-hop grounder that Clay Buchholz took off the side of his face in the first inning Wednesday night was more painful. But a second straight loss here to the Toronto Blue Jays may have left the more lasting bruise.

The Red Sox, who can ill afford such reversals during this 13-game stretch against division rivals, took a little more air out of the “They Can Climb Back Into This” movement, losing, 6-4, to the Blue Jays.

Staked to a 3-0 lead by David Ortiz’s fourth home run in three nights, this one off knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, Buchholz gave it right back in the bottom of the first, an inning in which he gave up four hits, a four-pitch walk and was dazed by Munenori Kawasaki’s comebacker that glanced off his glove and slammed into his cheek.

The Sox regained the lead on two-out doubles by Daniel Nava and Xander Bogaerts in the fifth, but an inning later the Jays were ahead to stay. Buchholz issued a one-out walk to Josh Thole, Ryan Goins hit a Buchholz changeup for a triple into the gap, and third baseman Bogaerts threw away a routine ground ball by Jose Reyes for the go-ahead run.

Jose Bautista hit Andrew Miller’s first pitch for a home run in the seventh to make it 6-4, and the last 13 Sox batters were set down in order, six by Aaron Sanchez, the Jays’ top prospect whose 98 m.p.h. fastball provided a jarring contrast to Dickey’s floaters.

The Sox, who had pummeled the Jays, 14-1, in the series opener, remain in last place in the AL East, with the series finale Thursday afternoon.

Buchholz was an inefficient mess for most of the night, allowing six hits, walking four and hitting two batters in six innings.

Papi's pace: Ortiz, 38, is on pace to hit 38 home runs this season, which would be his most since hitting a club-record 54 in 2006. Only six players in major league history have hit 38 or more home runs in a season at 38 years or older: Barry Bonds (twice), Darrell Evans, Hank Aaron, Frank Thomas, Rafael Palmeiro and Ted Williams. Aaron, Thomas and Williams are Hall of Famers (Thomas's induction comes Sunday). Bonds and Palmeiro have been discredited by their links to performance-enhancing drugs.

David Ortiz reaches 1,500 RBIs

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
9:08
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TORONTO -- With his fourth home run in three games here Wednesday night, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz became the 53rd player in major-league history to drive in 1,500 or more runs in his career.

Ortiz lined a knuckleball from Toronto's R.A. Dickey off the facing of the fourth deck in Rogers Centre for a three-run home run in the first inning. The distance was calculated by ESPN Stats & Information as 425 feet. By their calculations, the ball would have landed 89 feet beyond the right-field fence.

The home run was the 24th of the season for Ortiz, pulling him into a tie with Mike Trout of the Angels for fourth most in the AL, five behind league leader Jose Abreu of the White Sox (29)

Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia had singled before Ortiz's home run, which gave him 72 RBIs this season and 1,501 in his career. He began the night ranked seventh in the majors this season in RBIs with 69, eight behind major-league leader Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers.

According to Red Sox researcher Jon Shestakofsky, Ortiz broke the 1,500 RBI threshold in his 2,067th game, making him the 14th-fastest player in history to accomplish that feat.


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Shawn Anderson runs a fun site called The Hall of Very Good -- a great way of honoring those who fall just short of Cooperstown status. This year's inductees are Luis Tiant, Tony Oliva and ... The San Diego Chicken. Here's Shawn's post introducing the class of 2014.

I don't have much to say about the Chicken, but Tiant actually has a pretty interesting case for Cooperstown, especially when compared to two pitchers his career overlapped with:

Tiant: 229-172, 3.30 ERA, 114 ERA+, 66.1 WAR
Don Drysdale: 209-166, 2.95 ERA, 121 ERA+, 61.2 WAR
Catfish Hunter: 224-166, 3.26 ERA, 104 ERA+, 36.6 WAR

So why Drysdale and Hunter instead of Tiant? All three were certainly famous in their time, although Drysdale and Hunter had the advantage of playing for World Series champions, while Tiant played for just one World Series participant, and his Red Sox lost. It may be as simple as that, but there were several other factors that played in to Tiant's not getting in:

1. His best seasons were spread out. He went 21-9 with a league-leading 1.60 ERA for the Indians in 1968, but followed that up with a 20-loss season and then two partial seasons due to injury issues. Healthy again with the Red Sox in 1972, he went 15-6 and led the AL with a 1.91 ERA. From 1973 to 1976, he won 20 games three times and had a 3.31 ERA while averaging 281 innings per season and completing more than half his starts. But his worst season in that span was the 1975 pennant year for Boston, when he went 18-14 with a 4.02 ERA.

If he'd had his 1966-68 seasons alongside his 1972-1976 years his record would look more like Hunter's, rather than having that three-year gap of ineffectiveness mixed in. If 1975 had been one of his best seasons, it would have had a larger impact than his forgotten great 1968 season.

2. Not understanding park effects. Why is Tiant's WAR higher than Drysdale's or Hunter's? He pitched in Fenway, a great hitter's park in the '70s, while Drysdale and Hunter spent many of their prime seasons in great pitcher's parks in Dodger Stadium and Oakland. Today, voters would consider this more than when those guys were on the ballot in the 1980s.

3. Timing. Consider this: When Drysdale hit the ballot for the first time in 1975, he received 21 percent of the vote. When Tiant hit the ballot in 1988, he received 30.9 percent. From there, Drysdale's support increased and he was elected on his 10th try. Tiant, meanwhile, fell to 10.5 percent in his second year and never recovered. Hunter sailed in more easily, topping 50 percent his first year in 1985 and getting elected in 1987.

So what happened? In 1975 and 1976, Robin Roberts and Bob Lemon were both on the ballot and Drysdale didn't get much support. After those two were elected in 1976, Drysdale's support increased more than 20 percent in 1977 as he was regarded as the best pitcher on the ballot. (Jim Bunning was the best new name on the ballot.) From there, Drysdale made steady upward progress until 1981, when Bob Gibson and Juan Marichal joined the ballot. Gibson made it into the Hall his first year as Drysdale's percentage dropped in 1981 and 1982. Marichal made it in 1983. Cleared of those two, Drysdale then gained elected in 1984.

Hunter joined the ballot in 1985. Hoyt Wilhelm was elected that year and Bunning was the only other strong pitching candidate. Hunter made it in 1987 -- a pretty weak ballot overall. Billy Williams was the top vote-getter (in his sixth year on the ballot) and Hunter was the other player elected, while Bunning, Orlando Cepeda and Roger Maris rounded out the top five. The overall lack of strong candidates undoubtedly helped Hunter.

That gets us to Tiant in 1988. He did OK for a first-timer; as mentioned, he started from a better place than Drysdale. Willie Stargell made it that year and Bunning just missed. But then look what happened:

1989: Gaylord Perry and Fergie Jenkins joined the ballot (along with Johnny Bench and Carl Yastrzemski, who got elected).

1990: Jim Palmer (elected).

1991: Perry and Jenkins elected, Rollie Fingers joined the ballot. (Bunning, who had peaked at 74.2 percent in 1988, fell off to 63.7 in his final year.)

1992: Tom Seaver and Fingers elected.

1993: Phil Niekro joined the ballot.

1994: Steve Carlton elected, Don Sutton joined the ballot.

1997: Niekro elected.

1998: Sutton elected.

By then, Tiant's momentum had long since ended, memories of his best days more than 20 years in the past. Drysdale and Hunter had missed the rush of Palmer, Jenkins and all the 300-game winners. Tiant paled in comparison to that group and his case died. Such is the way Hall of Fame voting often works with the borderline players.

* * * *

As for Oliva, he had half of a Hall of Fame career -- he won three batting titles and led the AL in hits five times with the Twins while twice finishing second in the MVP vote -- but bad knees eventually hurt his productivity and shortened his career. Like Tiant, his voting percentage peaked in 1988 (47.3 percent) but then declined as bigger stars came on the ballot. From 1964 to 1971, he had 42.2 WAR, according to Baseball-Reference.com, ninth among position players. Seven of the eight ahead of him are in the Hall of Fame (Dick Allen being the exception) as are several below him who played all those seasons (Willie McCovey, Billy Williams, Harmon Killebrew, Pete Rose, Al Kaline, Lou Brock, Willie Stargell).

Oliva was a good one.

Ortiz eclipses 1,500-RBI mark

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
8:39
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TORONTO -- With his fourth home run in three games here Wednesday night, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz became the 53rd player in major-league history to drive in 1,500 or more runs in his career.

Ortiz lined a knuckleball from Toronto’s R.A. Dickey off the facing of the fourth deck in Rogers Centre for a three-run home run in the first inning. The distance was calculated by ESPN Stats and Info as 425 feet. By their calculations, the ball would have landed 89 feet beyond the right-field fence.

The home run was the 24th of the season for Ortiz, pulling him into a tie with Mike Trout of the Angels for fourth most in the AL, five behind league leader Jose Abreu of the White Sox (29).

Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia had singled before Ortiz’s home run, which gave him 72 RBIs this season and 1,501 in his career. He began the night ranked seventh in the majors this season in RBIs with 69, eight behind major-league leader Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers.

According to Red Sox researcher Jon Shestakofsky, Ortiz broke the 1,500 RBI threshold in his 2,067th game, making him the 14th fastest player in history to accomplish that feat.

Ortiz is fourth among all active players in RBIs, trailing Alex Rodriguez (1,969), Manny Ramirez (1,831) and Albert Pujols (1,563). Rodriguez is serving a 162-game suspension while Ramirez is a player-coach for Triple-A Iowa in the Cubs’ system. All four leaders were born in the Dominican Republic.

Just ahead of Ortiz on the all-time list is Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle, with 1,509.

Ortiz homered in consecutive innings (fourth and fifth) Monday night, then homered again in the eighth inning Tuesday before connecting off Dickey in the first Wednesday. This was the first time since June 17-20, 2012 that he has homered in three straight games.


Ortiz now has 37 home runs in Rogers Centre (nee SkyDome), one more than A-Rod, who had held the record for most home runs here by a visiting player until this week. All but two of Ortiz’s home runs here have come as a member of the Red Sox.

Ortiz has 1,263 RBIs since joining the Red Sox in 2003, which ranks fifth on the club’s all-time list.

Ortiz, 38, is on pace to hit 38 home runs this season, which would be his most since hitting a club-record 54 in 2006. Only six players in major league history have hit 38 or more home runs in a season at 38 years or older: Barry Bonds (twice), Darrell Evans, Hank Aaron, Frank Thomas, Rafael Palmeiro and Ted Williams. Aaron, Thomas and Williams are Hall of Famers (Thomas's induction comes Sunday). Bonds and Palmeiro have been discredited by their links to performance-enhancing drugs.

What's the problem with Pedroia?

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
6:30
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ESPN Stats & Information
TORONTO -- He is a highly regarded talent evaluator for a major league club, and the day after watching Dustin Pedroia play earlier this month, he offered this theory on why the Red Sox second baseman is struggling.

“Just like last year, something must be physically wrong,” the evaluator said. “He’ll never admit it, nor will the team. [But] the statistical drop-off is too drastic to ignore, given his history.”

This much is certain: Pedroia has been given lots of chances to say injuries are responsible for the decline in his performance, and has rebuffed every one of them. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Last year, weeks passed before he admitted that he had torn the ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb in the season’s first game in Yankee Stadium, and only after a Boston Herald report of the injury. He recovered to have a strong second half, but had surgery on the thumb in November.

So, the question was put to him in a different way Wednesday: How much better would he be playing with a healthy left hand?

“I’ll be OK,” he said. “It’s part of playing, being an everyday player. I didn’t say anything last season because I was playing every day.”

It’s no different this season: Pedroia has played in 98 of the team’s first 100 games. And when he was told of the talent evaluator's comments, he didn’t make any effort to rebut them.

“I’ll be OK,” he said. “I’ll find a way. It’s part of the game.”

In this season’s home opener, Pedroia landed badly on his left wrist when upended on a double play relay against the Milwaukee Brewers, but went from fears that he might have fractured the wrist to a diagnosis of “some inflammation,” allowing him to persist with his “I’m fine” mantra. He was given a cortisone injection, but otherwise has played in 98 of the team’s first 100 games. The ballclub also has maintained that Pedroia is not limited physically.

[+] EnlargeDustin Pedroia
Rob Carr/Getty ImagesDustin Pedroia has just a .723 OPS in a full season since signing a long-term extension.
But there is nothing fine about his performance at the plate, although he continues to play exceptional defense. With a first-inning single in Wednesday night’s 6-4 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, Pedroia snapped an 0-for-17 spell. He is 2-for-24 since the All-Star break, and in his last dozen games, he is batting .170 (9-for-53). Only two of those nine hits have been for extra bases, both doubles.

Over the first three months of this season, Pedroia posted an OPS of .676 in April, .787 in May and .699 in June. May was consistent with his career numbers (.788), but the other two months were more than 100 percentage points lower. The drop-off has been even worse in July. Pedroia has a .612 OPS this month, compared to a career OPS of .838, a dropoff of 226 percentage points.

In late June, Pedroia vowed he was about to start hitting.

“I haven’t got hot yet,” he said. “I plan on getting hot -- hotter than Tent City.’’

And for a brief time, he backed up his words. In an eight-game span (June 28-July 6), Pedroia went on a tear, batting .500 (16-for-32) with a 1.072 OPS. But even that came with a qualifier -- 15 of the 16 hits were singles, which is not representative of Pedroia at his best -- and since then, he has gone into a funk.

“I was swinging the bat good before the break,” Pedroia said Tuesday night, “but when we got back, I hit some balls hard and did not have much to show for it.

“I don’t know, I’m trying to do too much instead of letting the ball come to me. I’ve got to figure it out. I’ve got to try and get better and help us.’’

The Sox have been winning during his dry spell, which has made his slump more tolerable. But in his last dozen games, his batting average has dropped 15 percentage points and his OPS has slipped from .741 to .702. His production the past two seasons has taken the steam out of the debate over who is the better-hitting second baseman, Robinson Cano or Pedroia. While Cano has maintained his production in Seattle, Pedroia came into play Wednesday night ranked just 14th among major-league second basemen in batting average, 13th in OPS, tied for eighth in extra-base hits and seventh in WAR (2.7).

Pedroia is too young -- he turns 31 on Aug. 17 -- to be experiencing such a significant decline. But this is not the performance expected of a player who a year ago to the day came to terms on an eight-year, $110 million contract extension that will take him through his 38th birthday. That contract was designed to make Pedroia a foundational piece of the franchise for the remainder of his career. But that foundation is showing cracks.

In 157 games since the announcement of his extension, the equivalent of a full season, Pedroia has posted a .278/.343/.380/.723 slash line, with 7 home runs, 82 runs and 63 RBIs. His career slash line before last year’s thumb injury: .303/.369/.461/.830. That’s a big difference.

Tuesday night, Pedroia said his timing was off.

“I’m a little out front on off-speed stuff, and late on the fastball,” he said. “That stuff happens. I got to find a way to fix that and produce.”

What he didn’t say was that it would help to have a healthy left hand.

A-Rod vs. Varitek

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
12:23
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Take a look back at one of the memorable moments in the bitter Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, when Jason Varitek have A-Rod a face full of mitt.

Jake Peavy can't find a way to win

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
12:38
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TORONTO -- We have gone beyond explanations, imprecations, lamentations. They are of no use.

Boston Red Sox pitcher Jake Peavy has taken the ball every five days 20 times this season and has as many wins as he has duck boats, World Series rings and Cy Young Awards: one, and that came 88 days before he went to the mound Tuesday night in Rogers Centre and lost again, 7-3 to the Toronto Blue Jays.

You say wins and losses don't define a pitcher? Peavy isn't wired that way. He's too old fashioned for that. ERA, FIP, WAR, K's per 9? He knows all that stuff, but for him, what matters is whether your team is shaking hands at the end of the night, or whether they've carried you off on your shield. Jon Lester is the same way. John Lackey, too.

Twenty times Peavy has taken the ball this season, and he has one win to his name. No other pitcher in the big leagues has made as many starts with as little to show for them.

The Sox have won only five times when Peavy has thrown their first pitch of the night. He has lost nine straight decisions (with six no-decisions). The team has lost his past nine outings, Tuesday's defeat ending a five-game winning streak and interrupting, at least temporarily, talk about a miracle run to October. The other four teams in the AL East won Tuesday night, dropping the Red Sox back into last place.

"It's frustrating to lose," Peavy said. "I'm so sick of sitting here. Sorry, I don't have the best attitude in the world. I try. I promise you, I try. Run support or no run support, it's not fun to lose. The only way to stop that from happening is for me to get better."


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Rapid Reaction: Jays 7, Red Sox 3

July, 22, 2014
Jul 22
10:17
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TORONTO -- This is the parallel universe in which Jake Peavy finds himself.

Tuesday night in St. Louis, Tampa Bay’s 39-year-old catcher Jose Molina, who could have a 20-yard head start on Toronto mayor Rob Ford and still lose a 50-yard race to the Chris Farley-lookalike, stole his third base of the season.

Meanwhile in Ontario, Peavy, a former Cy Young Award winner whose best days admittedly are behind him, made his 20th start of the season for the Red Sox, and at the end of the night still has just one win to his name.

Where is the logic? Where is the humanity?

Certainly not in the Rogers Centre, as it is now 88 days since Peavy last tucked a “W” inside his cowboy boot, the Sox falling, 7-3, to the Blue Jays, ending their five-game winning streak. A night after posting season highs in runs (14), hits (18) and home runs (4), the Sox were held scoreless until David Ortiz hit his 23rd home run of the season with one out in the eighth. Stephen Drew hit his fourth homer, and second in two nights, with a man aboard in the ninth.

Peavy, meanwhile, was saddled with his ninth straight loss (six no-decisions) since recording his lone win here on April 25. Peavy, who came into the game with the lowest run support among all AL pitching qualifiers (2.91), kept the Sox within a run until cracking in the sixth, when he gave up a leadoff home run to Jose Reyes after a seven-pitch at-bat and a two-run home run to Dioner Navarro, who didn’t miss when a Peavy fastball tailed right into his swing path.

A fifth run was charged to Peavy when Melky Cabrera hit a cue shot that caromed off the foot of reliever Burke Badenhop to third baseman Xander Bogaerts, who hesitated long enough to ensure everybody was safe. For good measure, the Jays tacked on two more against accidental reliever Felix Doubront, who didn’t endear himself to anyone when his inattention allowed Colby Rasmus to steal second unchallenged.

Peavy’s only positive takeaway of the night? He didn’t get a call from the ranch hands in Alabama telling him someone had made off with his duck boat. He’s had just about everything else taken away from him this season.

Peavy luck? Shane Victorino lined three hits Tuesday night. The one time the Jays got him out came in the sixth, when the score was still, 1-0, Jays, and Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes had opened the inning with singles off Jays starter J.A. Happ. Victorino rolled into a double play.

The Sox loaded the bases in the fourth, and Drew flied out to left. Ortiz came to the plate with two on and two out in the fifth and flied out.

Peavy is now 1-9. The Cardinals remain interested, according to a big-league source, but nothing is imminent. He has one more start scheduled before the July 31 trading deadline.

Price to face Ortiz, Lester on Friday

July, 22, 2014
Jul 22
4:56
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TORONTO -- Nearly two months have passed since Tampa Bay’s David Price drilled Boston DH David Ortiz with a 94-mph first-pitch fastball, touching off a nasty exchange in which Ortiz declared “war” on the Rays left-hander and Price accused Ortiz of thinking he is “bigger than the game.”

Tuesday afternoon, the Rays announced that Price will pitch the opener of this weekend’s series against the Red Sox in Tropicana Field, which should provide an intriguing subtext to a series already important to two teams trying to climb back into the American League East race.

Ortiz had little reaction to the news Price was pitching the opener. “So?” he said.

Asked if he anticipated any fallout from the last meeting, he said: “Why should I? I'm not the one who's pitching.”

On June 10, the Rays were 24-42, 18 games under .500 and 15 games out of first place in the AL East. Since that date, they are tied with the Angels for the best record in the league (23-11, .676), have won five in a row going into play Tuesday night, and began the night a half-game behind the Sox at 47-53, eight games behind the first-place Orioles in the division.

The Sox, meanwhile, began play Tuesday night as winners of eight of their last nine, and since the end of play June 8 have shaved three games off a 10 ½-game deficit in the division.

So this weekend’s series already promised to be an intense one. The added Ortiz-Price reunion could ratchet up that intensity.

Ortiz was incensed that Price escaped ejection and a suspension for hitting him, while Red Sox pitcher Brandon Workman, who threw a pitch behind Evan Longoria, was suspended six games.

“[The Rays] started everything and we’ve got to pay for it, basically,” Ortiz said when Workman’s suspension was announced. “That’s the message I’m getting. I don’t have any answer for it. But like I say, man, there’s way too much evidence now that he hit me on purpose and the funny thing is we’re the ones getting fines and suspensions, all that kind of stuff.

“I guess the rules are not for everyone.”

Ortiz also said he would not tolerate getting hit again by Price.

“I mean, it's a war,” Ortiz said. “It's on. Next time he hits me, he better bring the gloves. I have no respect for him no more.”

Price was unrepentant.

“Sometimes, the way [Ortiz] acts out there, he kind of looks like he's bigger than the game,” Price said. “That's not the way it is, not the way it goes. ... Nobody's bigger than the game of baseball. You ask pitchers from 10, 15, 20 years ago -- that's normal, part of the game.”

Sox ace Jon Lester is in line to start against Price.

The Red Sox won that May 30 meeting. Since that game, Price is 6-3 with a 1.64 ERA, striking out 83 batters in 71 1/3 innings while walking just 12.

Meanwhile, Lester is 5-1 with a 1.41 ERA, striking out 64 and walking just 10 in 59 innings in his last nine starts.

Red Sox slated to open 2015 in Philly

July, 22, 2014
Jul 22
1:40
PM ET
TORONTO -- The final version of the 2015 major league schedule is still at least a couple of weeks away, but according to the version currently being reviewed by all 30 teams and subject to revision, the Red Sox will open next season in Philadelphia on April 6 against the National League’s Phillies.

After playing three games against the Phillies, the Sox are scheduled to play three games against the Yankees in New York before heading to Fenway Park to face the Washington Nationals, another National League East team, in their home opener. That game is tentatively scheduled for April 13.

The Sox home opener this season also was against a National League team, the Milwaukee Brewers, who swept three straight from the Sox.

The Sox interleague opponents in 2015 are scheduled to be from the NL East. In June, they are scheduled to have back-to-back home-and-home series against the Braves (two in Boston, two in Atlanta). They are scheduled to play two games at Fenway against the Marlins in July, then go to Miami for two more games (tentatively scheduled for Aug. 11-12).

The Sox are scheduled to go to New York’s CitiField to play the Mets Aug. 28-30, then the Phillies are scheduled for a three-game visit to Boston in early September, which would be the last interleague action of the season for the Sox.

The Yankees’ first visit to Boston is tentatively scheduled for May 1-3. The Orioles are scheduled to be the Marathon weekend opponent in April, while the Sox are tentatively scheduled to end the season Oct. 4 in Cleveland against the Indians.

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