Dustin Pedroia on Jon Lester: ‘It’s tough. We’re not teammates, we’re family’

By Ryan Hannable

BOSTON — Following Tuesday’s loss to the Blue Jays, Red Sox manager John Farrell announced Jon Lester would not make his scheduled start on Wednesday with Brandon Workman taking his place. Thursday is the non-waiver trade deadline and with so many teams rumored to be in on Lester it makes most sense for him not to make his scheduled start Wednesday night.

“I don’t make those moves, man. I’m just here to support Jon as a teammate,” second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. “Every time he takes the ball we have a great chance of winning. I don’t think about t he other stuff, you can’t control that.”

Pedroia and Lester were drafted two years apart by the organization, Lester in 2002 and Pedroia in 2004. Both made their major league debuts in the 2006 season and the two, along with David Ortiz have been the faces of the Red Sox franchise over the last several years.

“It’s tough. We’re not teammates, we’re family,” Pedroia said. “It’s something you don’t like going through. It makes you feel worse – we don’t want to be in this position. I know a lot of guys if you play up to your capabilities you should be adding instead of subtracting so hopefully he’s here.”

Lester has a career 110-63 record with a 3.64 ERA in 242 career games with the Red Sox. In the postseason that gets even better as he is 6-4 with a 2.11 ERA in 13 games, including a perfect 3-0 in World Series games with an 0.43 ERA.

“If we have a big game to play, we want him pitching it. I’ve seen him every start. It would be tough to see him on another uniform.”

For up-to-the-minute Red Sox news and updates, follow @RyanHannable.

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John Farrell talks trade rumors, Allen Webster expected to stay in Red Sox rotation

By Ryan Hannable

BOSTON — Whether you are having a winning season or a losing season, the week of MLB’s trade deadline is somewhat the same in every clubhouse. Who is going to stay? Who is going to leave? Will there be any moves at all?

With their 48-57 record and being 10 1/2 games out in the American League East, the Red Sox are rumored to be a team likely to part way with a number of their players, rather than look to add to their current major league roster. Some of their biggest names have been mentioned in these rumors have included: Jon Lester, Andrew Miller, Koji Uehara and Jonny Gomes.

“There is nothing imminent as it relates to the rumors mentioned,” said manager John Farrell. “Rumors are being circulated in every clubhouse around the game right now, it’s just where we are with the deadline coming up on Thursday and we try and do the best we can with keeping an open line of communication with each player that might be in a situation or attached to a situation just to put their thoughts at rest as best we can. It’s about going out an winning a game tonight.”

Other Red Sox notes:

– Allen Webster took Jake Peavy’s start in the rotation on Saturday. With Brandon Workman the leading candidate to take Peavy’s spot in the rotation, but unable to start Saturday because of pitching three days earlier, it was speculated he could join the rotation this week. Workman also has a locker in the Red Sox clubhouse, but Farrell said he doesn’t expect a shuffle in the rotation and Workman’s stuff has been there since he was optioned two weeks back.

“Everything points to Allen making that start,” he said. “There is no plan right now to make any changes in our rotation”

– David Ortiz is hitting .333 (5-for-15) with two career home runs off Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey — a good matchup for the Red Sox’ designated hitter. Farrell likes Ortiz’s matchup against any pitcher.

“We like David against any pitcher,” Farrell said. “We’re talking about one of the most potent left-handed hitters in the game today and has been for quite awhile. Regardless of who the pitcher is, David is having a very good year and has had a long run of many good years here in Boston. We expect him to go out and swing the bat again well tonight.”

For up to the minute Red Sox news and notes, follow Ryan Hannable on Twitter @RyanHannable.

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Balanced offensive attack leading the way in recent Red Sox hot streak

By Ryan Hannable

BOSTON — In the three game weekend series against the Kansas City Royals, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz were a combined 2-for-25. With the way the season has been going for the Red Sox, this might look like a three-game sweep, but in fact it was the opposite as despite not getting much production from their two leaders, they still were able to earn a weekend sweep, capped by a 6-0 win Sunday afternoon.

Sunday it was David Ross shining as he ripped a two-run homer in the fourth inning to give the home team a comfortable 6-0 advantage. Also having productive days were Daniel Nava and Jackie Bradley Jr. who each picked up two hits and Nava had three RBI. Shane Victorino in his second game back after missing a month and a half with a hamstring and back injury, went 2-for-4 with a run scored.

“Daniel Nava with an outstanding day offensively for us,” manager John Farrell said. “Brock Holt, Jackie Bradley, multiple hits, we’re getting more consistent contribution up and down the lineup. (Victorino) coming back to us the last two days has been an added bonus. Kind of reminded us how much we’ve missed his play in right field.”

The Red Sox have now won four straight games and seven of eight overall to now at least give a glimmer of hope that they do in fact have a second half run in them. In their last eight games as a team they are hitting .291 and have outscored their opponents 43-18.

A number of players who weren’t swinging the bat well in May and June have now turned a corner and playing a major part in the recent success of the team.

Nava is hitting .382 in the month of July and since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on June 2, has an OBP of .421 and a .337 batting average. Brock Holt has hit safely in six straight games and has multiple hits in four of them. Bradley Jr. has hit safely in 11 of his last 13 games and is hitting .372 during that span.

Along with those three, Jonny Gomes came through with a game-winning, pinch-hit home run Friday night, this coming right after Xander Bogaerts hitting his first home run and extra base hit since June 13. Finally, Saturday night belonged to Mike Napoli as his solo homer well over the Monster seats was the game-winner in the 2-1 Red Sox win.

“It’s everybody. It’s not just one person,” Ross said. “Guys are getting big hits. Jackie (Bradley) is getting big hits. Brock Holt is doing his thing. It seems to be a different guy everyday.”

Not only is it a good sign winning four straight and seven of eight, it’s the way they are winning as even with Pedroia and Ortiz (1 for his last 18) not contributing like usual, they are playing some of their best baseball of the season. With 13 straight games against the AL East on tap and the trade deadline on July 31, it may very well decide how the remainder of the season goes.

With how well the offense is clicking, they may have a run in them — something no one thought possible just over two weeks ago after being swept by Cubs at home.

What are you seeing as the key in the Red Sox lineup? Leave your thoughts in the comment section or on Twitter @RyanHannable.

 

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Rubby De La Rosa continues to shine with Red Sox

By Ryan Hannable

BOSTON — In just seven starts with the Red Sox this season, Rubby De La Rosa has certainly made a name for himself as possibly being a fixture in the Red Sox rotation not only for the remainder of this season, but for years to come.

The latest came Saturday night when he went seven innings allowing one run on five hits to earn his third win of the season — a 2-1 Red Sox triumph over the Royals at Fenway Park.

In four starts at home this season, De La Rosa is 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA and has allowed one run or fewer in three of his four starts. The right-hander feels comfortable with everything that goes with pitching at Fenway.

“It’s fun to pitch here,” he said. “I feel comfortable here. Everything works. I like the mound here. I love the fans, I like the fans. I feel comfortable here.”

Saturday’s performance wasn’t as easy as the stat line would suggest as he needed to pitch out of a number of jams, some due to poor defense behind him (Jonny Gomes’ error in the fourth and misplay in the fifth). The Royals had base runners in every inning against him except the seventh. The Royals also ended innings with runners in scoring position in four of the seven innings he pitched, going 0-for-5 overall in the game.

“He was at his best with men on base here tonight,” manager John Farrell said. “He may have issued a few more walks than we’ve seen (four), particularly here at Fenway, which he’s been outstanding anytime he’s taken the mound here at home. Even in the couple of situations where we gave an extra base runner he shut it down and pitched with a lot of poise once again.”

De La Rosa’s best pitch Saturday was his changeup as he went to it in a number of hitters counts and was able to get back into a rhythm after throwing it. Overall, he threw 22 change ups and recorded four swings and misses on the pitch. This has been the pitch that has allowed him to have success at the big league level as with a fastball nearing 100 MPH, he has needed a second pitch to compliment his heater.

“I felt comfortable with my changeup so I threw a lot of changeups today because I know these guys swing at a lot of balls,” De La Rosa said.

His manager noticed it too.

“Really good stuff for one. A changeup that he has gone to – even a couple of times tonight where he got down in the count where it was 2-0, 3-0, 3-1 he used a changeup to get himself back in sync from a delivery standpoint and it didn’t allow their hitters, who are a very good fastball hitting team to sit one one pitch,” Farrell said.

De La Rosa has now gone at least seven innings while allowing one run or less in four of his seven starts this season, which is the second most on the team, trailing only Jon Lester who has five. Even more impressive is De La Rosa has made just seven starts this year, while Lester has made 19.

With Felix Doubront moved to the bullpen and not pitching in a game since July 7, it would seem certain De La Rosa has taken a firm hold on the No. 4/5 starter’s role in the Red Sox rotation.

What have you thought of Rubby De La Rosa? Leave your thoughts in the comments section or on Twitter @RyanHannable.

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Jonny Gomes comes through in the clutch again for the Red Sox

By Ryan Hannable

BOSTON — There were two outs in the sixth inning with a runner on second base and the Red Sox trailing 4-3. The Royals replaced starter James Shields with lefty reliever Scott Downs with lefty Jackie Bradley Jr. coming to the plate.

In what normally might be too early to call upon a pinch-hitter, manager John Farrell called upon the right-handed hitting Jonny Gomes and the veteran outfielder rewarded his manager with a two-run home run to center field, which proved to be the game-winning hit in the Red Sox’ 5-4 win over the Royals.

“For me that’s an opportunity I need to feast on,” Gomes said. “Knowing they have two lefties in the bullpen, so that at-bat effectively started at about 2:00 for me today. That’s the opportunity when my number is called on I need to feast on the opportunity.”

For Gomes, it was his second pinch-hit home run of the season and his sixth overall since joining the Red Sox last season. The six pinch-hit home runs as a member of the Red Sox puts him in second place on the Red Sox all-time list, trailing only Ted Williams who had seven. Gomes made it clear he isn’t chasing any of Teddy Ballgame’s records.

“Go ahead and get it out there – I’m not chasing any of Ted Williams’ records,” he said. “To break it all down I am just extremely fortunate, lucky and grateful to wear the same uniform that guy wore. Individual records don’t matter, I’m here trying to collect championships.”

Being a platoon outfielder, Gomes knows his role and needs to be ready when his name is called upon for pinch-hit situations like Friday night. He knows his playing time is somewhat limited and needs to make the most of it — if he doesn’t, his playing time could be cut down even more. He points to that as being the reason for his ability to hit in the clutch.

Gomes’ clutch hitting has done a lot for the Red Sox in the past year and a half. In games he’s homered as a member of the Red Sox, the team is 16-4 in those games. The biggest came in Game 4 of the World Series last year when he belted a three-run home run in St. Louis to allow the Red Sox to tie the series at two.

“I wouldn’t say I thrive, to tell you the truth, it’s something I have to do,” said Gomes. “If you take that away from my tools and what I bring to the club, you might not be seeing much No. 5. It’s one of my tasks, one of my jobs that I have here and I just have to do my best to succeed in this role.”

Hitting against left-handers is what Gomes does best as after Friday he is hitting .313 against left-handers (31-for-99) this year, compared to just .154 against righties (14-for-91).

For the Red Sox as a team, it was big win as they entered the sixth inning trailing 4-1 and the four runs led them to a win. It was their 18th comeback win of the season and they have now won five of their last six games overall and starting to finally build some momentum. Entering the day 9 1/2 games out of first place in the AL East, Gomes and the team know where they stand, but also know there is still a lot of baseball left to be played and no one should be counted out.

“Before the break and first day after the break our goal hasn’t changed, so our goal is still win the division, win that last game of the year, our goal hasn’t changed one bit,” said Gomes. “Obviously we understand the date and we understand we dig ourselves in the hole a little bit, but we’re not trying to turn the corner by any means, we’re just trying to win as many games as we can.”

What do you think of Jonny Gomes? Should the Red Sox hold on to him, or look to trade him? Voice your thoughts in the comment section or on Twitter @RyanHannable.

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