Red Sox

Fister sharp again as Red Sox beat Blue Jays, 6-1

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Fister sharp again as Red Sox beat Blue Jays, 6-1

BOSTON -- Doug Fister has quickly gone from a pitcher looking for a big league job right into being a key starter for a team chasing a division title.

Fister gave up one run over seven innings, Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs and the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-1 on Wednesday night, a day after the teams played a 19-inning marathon.

The Red Sox claimed the 33-year-old Fister in June after he opted out of a Triple-A contract and was released by the Los Angeles Angels. In the last couple weeks, he's clearly been Boston's best starter.

"To say that when we got him from the Angels that he would be running a streak of starts consecutively like he is, no - he's surpassed the initial expectation," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "He's doing a great job."

It was the second straight win for the AL East-leading Red Sox, who moved four games ahead of the second-place Yankees. New York's game at Baltimore was rained out.

Playing just 18 hours after completing a 3-2 victory that lasted six hours and ended on Hanley Ramirez's bloop single, the Red Sox took charge with a four-run fourth that was capped by Bradley's homer.

Fister (5-7) allowed four hits, struck out nine and walked three, improving to 3-1 in his last four starts with a 1.50 ERA.

"It's definitely a fun time of year, being anxious for what might come," he said. "I just continually work hard each and every day."

Joe Biagini (3-10) was tagged for five runs in 3 1/3 innings.

With rain starting to fall when the Red Sox came to the plate in the fourth, Xander Bogaerts halted a 3-for-33 stretch by lining an opposite field RBI triple and scored on Rafael Devers' single. Bradley then belted his homer into Boston's bullpen, making it 5-1.

"I thought he threw the ball pretty good early under these conditions," Blue Jays acting manager DeMarlo Hale said of Biagini. "You think about the fourth inning, really the big blow was the home run. He left a changeup up to Bradley and I thought that was really the big blow of the game."

Biagini didn't waste time analyzing his outing.

"Bad. That's a short answer for you," he said. "It's a search for consistency, consistency of release point. Just aggressiveness and all that good stuff."

Both teams scored a run in the first.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: LHP David Price (left elbow inflammation) threw his fourth bullpen session of the week and Farrell said he's expected to pitch a simulated game Saturday. ... Farrell decided to DH 2B Dustin Pedroia with the forecast of showers to limit playing on his left knee that landed him on the DL with inflammation for nearly three weeks last month.

LET ME SEE, TOO

Fister stood on the edge of the mound and joined in, looking at an iPad that Red Sox head groundskeeper Dave Mellor brought out to show the umpires the radar before the sixth.

SLOW STARTS

During his strong four-start stretch, Fister has allowed all five of his runs in the opening inning.

Miguel Montero drew a bases-loaded walk after Fister gave up a leadoff single to Ezequiel Carrera, a double to Justin Smoak and a walk to Michael Saunders.

"He gets into the rhythm of the game. It takes him an inning," Farrell said. "It's been uncanny how similar the beginning of games are and how he finishes out."

EASY THEFTS

The Red Sox were 4 for 4 in stolen base attempts, and improved to 29 for 32 this season against Toronto, the most steals by any club in the majors against an opponent this season.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: Off Thursday. They open a three-game series at Rogers Centre on Friday against Detroit. RHP Marcus Stroman (11-6, 3.08 ERA) is scheduled to start after leaving his last one when he was hit on the right elbow with a line drive.

Red Sox: Off Thursday. LHP Drew Pomeranz (14-5, 3.36) looks to rebound after his career-best eight-game winning streak was halted in his last start when Boston opens a three-game series against Tampa Bay at Fenway Park on Friday.

Dombrowski on Stanton: 'We called at the end, we were not on his list'

Dombrowski on Stanton: 'We called at the end, we were not on his list'

We can go through all the handwringing we want with the Red Sox and Giancarlo Stanton and the pursuit or the lack thereof. The bottom line is twofold.
 
One, the Sox clearly didn’t want to take on the money, even if they tiptoe around it publicly.
 
“There’s a lot of things that are involved in that, not only position, finances, futures, there’s a lot that’s involved in those things,” Sox president of baseball operations aDombrowski said when asked about roster flexibility.
 
Two, Stanton preferred to go elsewhere, although we’ll never know what would have happened if push came to shove and the Sox and Marlins struck a deal.

MORE:

 
“We were not on his immediate list,” Dombrowski said. “We called at the end, we were not on his list. So they were going somewhere else. Yeah, we did all our homework on Stanton. In fact, I know a couple of you guys saw me talking to [Marlins general manager] Mike Hill during the general managers’ meetings. … I knew exactly where everything was, what they were looking for, dollars that were involved. Just was not where we were at that particular time. 
 
“And you have to remember that the guys they [would have received in deals Stanton blocked with] St. Louis or San Francisco … might have been a little bit better than what they ended up getting in their own minds. And then they switched off and at that point, [Stanton] had given them the four clubs that he wanted to go to and we weren’t one of the four.”
 
Stanton preferred to go to one of the Yankees, Astros, Dodgers or Cubs.
 
“Those are the clubs that they were concentrating on at that time,” Dombrowski said. “As soon as that changed, they jumped into the Yankees situation. … I mean I knew exactly when St. Louis and San Francisco were out of it.”
 
The early asking price was a turn off for the Red Sox. But, the package the Yankees ended up sending did not include the team’s very best prospects. It did include a major league contributor that the Yankees’ strong farm system and relatively low payroll can readily replace in Starlin Castro
 
“But the early asks for him were not things that we were interested in,” Dombrowski said of Stanton. “And then as a time went on the end, there were no conversations based upon — I mean, he was traded, I had a pulse of, they had a deal done with St. Louis. They had a deal done with San Francisco. At that point, when I reached out, they were in the midst of dealing with the Yankees at that point.
 
“[I reached out] to Mike Hill last week, yeah. But he was in the midst of the Yankee deal at that point.”
 
Dombrowski was asked if based on the final offer the Marlins accepted if he would have liked to make a revised offer, with the leverage lessened for the Marlins.
 
“Those are the things that are really in a confidential basis,” Dombrowski said.
 
Dombrowski said there’s no change to Red Sox plans because of the Yankees. The plan was already to make the Red Sox as strong as can be. 
 
“You’re not only trying to beat the clubs in your own division, but to to have the best club in the league and the best club overall,” Dombrowski said. “So we’re already tying to do that.”
 
Stanton’s agent Joel Wolfe on Monday noted the Red Sox told him they were focused on pitching, referring to relief pitching in particular. Dombrowski gave his remembrance of the conversation with Wolfe.
 
“No, and I never said that to him. I might have said we were looking at people for relief pitching,” Dombrowski said. “We’re not prioritizing pitching. I think that their basic conversations with us, they looked at our outfield and thought they probably really weren’t a fit with our ball club.
 
“We’re looking for a middle of the order bat, that hasn’t changed. First base or DH.”
 
Dombrowski did not handicap whether an addition was more likely via free agency or trade. He also shot down the idea of adding two bats. Hanley Ramirez is penciled into play one of first base or DH.
 
“I’ve read that, but I don’t know where we’d play these two bats,” Dombrowski said. “I’m trying to figure that one out. So, but I would say we’d be more limited to probably one bat. I can’t say that, I don’t know I guess if we went for a platoon type guy or something somewhere else. But I don’t really know where the second bat would play. Middle of the order type.”
 
Dombrowski said that the trade of Stanton and signing of Shohei Ohtani has opened up the market “tremendously.” It was hard to get a phone call last week, Dombrowski said. Now, there’s a lot going on, although he’s not necessarily convinced something gets done at the winter meetings.
 
“It’s been since yesterday afternoon nonstop,” Dombrowski said of conversations.

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Stanton agent: 'Boston never had any interest in him'

Stanton agent: 'Boston never had any interest in him'

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Giancarlo Stanton’s agent, Joel Wolfe, said on Monday afternoon that the Red Sox were never presented to him and his client as a possible trade destination. 

“To my knowledge, Boston never had any interest in him,” Wolfe said after the Yankees introduced Stanton at a winter meetings press conference. “Not that they don’t love him as a player, but they never tried to make a deal with the Marlins.”

Asked if there were any other obstacles to Stanton potentially coming to Boston, Wolfe said no.

"I didn't really have a thought on it," Stanton said of potentially going to the Red Sox.

The Red Sox did have some level of interest, but as with anything, it was a matter of price. It became clear previously that the salary was not something the Red Sox were comfortable with.

Wolfe said he was not surprised the trade talks didn’t get to a point where Stanton would have had to think more seriously about coming to Boston.

“I wasn’t,” Wolfe said, “Because they have a tremendous outfield, and we were told at the GM Meetings that they were looking for pitching and other areas.”

The Red Sox are widely known to be looking for relief pitching -- which is what Wolfe was referring to -- in addition to a power bat.

The Yankees still intend to stay under the luxury tax threshold in 2018, owner Hal Steinbrenner said on Monday. They can do that even with Stanton. The Red Sox roster, with some big, cumbersome contracts, doesn’t have the flexibility the Yankees roster does -- and clearly, Red Sox ownership and management didn’t think it wise to take on such a huge deal.

That's not what most of the Sox fan base wanted to hear -- not at all. 

The Yankees are to pay $265 million of the $295 million remaining on Stanton’s contract.

“I think [the salary is] a significant issue with everyone, yeah,” Wolfe said. “For sure. But I don’t know if that was the reason (the Red Sox didn't pursue Stanton) or not. But I mean, [Andrew] Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley, those guys are under control and studs.”

In a long session with reporters, Wolfe said he discussed all 30 teams with Stanton, whose list of four teams he preferred to be traded to came into shape late in the season. (They were the Cubs, Yankees, Astros and Dodgers.) Asked specifically if he talked to Stanton about the Red Sox, Wolfe reiterated there wasn’t really a need to go down that road.

“We didn’t talk about it much for you know the reason I was just saying, with the three studs they had out there [in the outfield] and the depth, it just didn’t look like it was going to be a priority,” Wolfe said. “They were prioritizing pitching.”

And hitting, too. They'll have to find some somewhere else to satiate a fan base that just watched the Yankees add the National League MVP and best home-run hitter in the game.

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