Red Sox

First impressions: Buchholz's strong start, Leon's bunt spark Red Sox in 5-1 win


First impressions: Buchholz's strong start, Leon's bunt spark Red Sox in 5-1 win

First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-1 win over the San Diego Padres:


* Clay Buchholz turned in another valuable spot start

Filling in for the injured Steven Wright, Buchholz gave the Red Sox 6 2/3 innings, allowing a solo run on eight hits with no walks and six strikeouts.

The veteran righty has helped save the Red Sox rotation in the second half, filling in for both Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez.

Buchholz began pitching out of the stretch in the bullpen earlier in the season and stayed with the same delivery when he began to start again.

With improved velocity and a more aggressive approach on the mound, Buchholz has rediscovered his bearing on the mound, with far better command. Buchholz has walked just five hitters in his last 23 1/3 innings and has made a habit of avoiding the big inning -- the very thing that hurt him so often in the first half of the season.


* Sandy Leon's bunt jump-started the Red Sox offense.

When Leon came to the plate in the fourth inning, the Red Sox had scored all of one run in the previous 21 innings, dating back to Sunday's game in Oakland.

The Sox had fallen into the habit of stranding runners and failing to come up with hits with runners in scoring position.

Leon saw that the Padres had shifted around to the right when he came to lead off the inning. Leon smartly squared around and dropped a bunt down toward an unmanned third base, then easily sprinted safely to first.

One batter later, Jackie Bradley Jr. hammered a two-run homer to right and the Red Sox were on the way to breaking out of their slump.


* If it seems like Dustin Pedroia is always on base of late, that's only a slight exaggeration.

Pedroia singled in the third, and then in the ninth, reached on an infield single to the shortstop hole.

That gave him another multi-hit game, his ninth in the last 11 games. And in of those games in which he didn't collect two or more hits, he had a hit and a walk, meaning that in 10 of the last 11 games, he's been on base a minimum of two times.

For someone who had stated that he doesn't like hitting leadoff, Pedroia has hardly seemed constrained by the switch to first in the order a little more than a month ago.

To the contrary, Pedroia's presence at the top of the lineup has been a positive move for the offense.


As expected, it's Sale, Price and Porcello to start Sox season

As expected, it's Sale, Price and Porcello to start Sox season

New Red Sox manager Alex Cora has announced that, as expected, left-hander Chris Sale will be the Opening Day starter when the Red Sox begin their season nine days from now against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla. David Price will pitch the second game and Rick Porcello the third. 

Cora told reporters in Fort Myers, Fla. that Eduardo Rodriguez would be in the fourth starter's spot if he's ready as he continues to recover from off-season knee surgery and left-hander Brian Johnson is preparing to be the fifth starter for now.

In Price's second Grapefruit League start on Tuesday, he pitched five innings and allowed two runs on three hits, walked one and struck out four in the Red Sox' 12-6 victory over the Pirates. Third baseman Rafael Devers, hitting .349 this spring, hit his third home run of the spring. Andrew Benintendi (.405) had a double and two RBI and first baseman Sam Travis drove in three. 

Sale had a much rougher outing Monday, giving up four runs on five hits, with three walks and six strikeouts in five innings against the Phillies. 



Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Red Sox, Yankees working to play in London in 2019

Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge are about to go global.

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy on Monday confirmed the Sox are interested to play the Yankees in London during next year's regular season. Bloomberg reported the clubs are nearing an agreement to play two games there in June 2019. Discussions are indeed taking place, but a deal is not done.

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“We would love to participate in a series in London against the Yankees but this is a decision that MLB and the MLBPA will make," Sox CEO Sam Kennedy said.

Bloomberg reported the games would be played at London Stadium, which was the main facility for the 2012 summer Olympics.

MLB has not played any games in Europe before. The Red Sox have made trips before, including to Japan before the 2008 season.