Red Sox

Friar: Red Sox passing the test so far on road trip

Friar: Red Sox passing the test so far on road trip

The biggest concern entering the second half for the Red Sox was the road-heavy schedule.

On their recent 11-game West Coast trip, the Sox went 5-6 and dropped to third in the A.L. East. They returned to Fenway and had a relatively successful home stand -- 4-2 against the Yankees and Diamondbacks, capped by a three-game sweep of Arizona -- but then faced what looked like a death march: Eleven games in 11 days in four different cities, with the first three opponents (Cleveland, Baltimore, Detroit) all in the playoff hunt.


The Sox are 5-2 through the first seven games. Had the bullpen not imploded Thursday and were Eduardo Rodriguez healthy enough to make his scheduled start Sunday, they could conceivably be undefeated as they head into Tampa Bay for the final four games. They're back in second place in the division, only a half-game behind Toronto (tied in the loss column), and are in first place in the wild-card standings by two games over the Orioles and three over the Mariners.

This was supposed to be the be-all-end-all, make-or-break stretch that would reveal what this team really is. Between the travel and the caliber of teams they played -- not to mention the inconvenient starting times Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon in different cities -- the deck was stacked against them.

With little exception, they’ve passed the test.

“Our guys have done a fantastic job of not letting (the toughness, and unfairness, of the schedule) even come into their mindset. In some ways it’s a rallying cry,” John Farrell told reporters before Sunday’s game. “Is there, I don’t want to say, a conspiracy? But hey, this is what we’re dealt with and you let it roll off your back.

“And it some ways I think it’s allowed our guys to be free of mind and say ‘You know what, the hell with it. Let’s just go play. Doesn’t matter where we’re going, what time, how long the travel was to get there.’ They’ve done a very good job.”

The Red Sox are in good position to keep rolling against the bottom-of-the-barrel Rays, with their top four starters -- David Price, Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello and Drew Pomeranz -- lined up in that order for the series.  “It’s all on the starting pitching,” Price said after his rain-shortened victory in Baltimore on Wednesday, and Farrell agrees.

“It’s been our pitching. Our pitching has been very consistent,” Farrell said. “Our starters have done a good job of maintaining games . . . "

The starters have an ERA of 2.78 in August, second-best in all of baseball, and are averaging 6 2/3 innings per start. That, in turn, lessens the load on the relievers, whose roles Farrell has adjusted slightly in the wake of Thursday's collapse.

"I think, on the whole, the body of work by the bullpen has been solid,” Farrell said.

Good starting pitching. Competent relief work. Continued production from the hitters. If this play continues, there’s not much opponents can do to stop the Red Sox.

At home or on the road.

Follow Nick Friar on Twitter at ngfriar.

Red Sox minor leaguer Oscar Hernandez suspended for second positive drug test

Red Sox minor leaguer Oscar Hernandez suspended for second positive drug test

Red Sox minor league catcher Oscar Hernandez has been handed a 50-game suspension for a second positive test for a drug of abuse, our own Evan Drellich reports.

Hernandez signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox in January and currently is on the Triple-A Pawtucket roster. The 24-year-old will be able to return in late May.





Wright suspended 15 games for violation of domestic-violence policy

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Wright suspended 15 games for violation of domestic-violence policy

Red Sox pitcher Steven Wright will be suspended 15 games for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy, NBC Sports Boston has learned. The league is set to make the announcement Friday.

Wright, working his way back from right knee surgery, has to serve the suspension when healthy. Potential time on the disabled list to begin the season would not count. Wright is not expected to appeal.

Wright was arrested at his Tennessee home in December following an incident involving his wife, Shannon. Wright was charged with domestic assault and preventing a 911 call, which are misdemeanors in Tennessee, and released on a $2,500 bond.

The case in December was retired by the Williamson County courthouse. If Wright commits no other offenses for a 12-month span, the charges are expected to be dropped.

Fifteen games matches the lowest suspension MLB has given out in relation to a domestic violence case since the league and players union agreed to a policy in 2015. Mets pitcher Jeurys Familia was suspended 15 games in March 2017.

"It's a situation that, it sucks not only for me, but for my family, for the team," Wright told reporters in Florida on Thursday. "But I try not to think about it. When MLB comes out with their discipline, or if there's going to be discipline or not, it's just going to go from there."

Wright said this spring that he did not harm his wife.

“We’ve been going to counseling. We’ve been working through it,” Wright said. “We’ve been trying to do as much as we can to put it past us, but it’s hard. Because MLB is doing their investigation and it’s in the limelight. It’s really hard on a personal level to get past something that’s constantly being thrown at you. But I did it to myself. It’s one of those things that I’ve got to live with the consequences that came from my actions that night.”