Red Sox

First impressions: E-Rod takes step forward, but Red Sox lose, 8-6

First impressions: E-Rod takes step forward, but Red Sox lose, 8-6

First impressions from the Boston Red Sox' 8-6 loss to the Chicago White Sox:


Koji Uehara can't be trusted anymore.

Uehara isn't ageless after all. He's looked every bit his 41 years old this season.

He still registers a lot of swings-and-misses -- he had 36 in 26.1 innings coming into Wednesday -- but there's far less margin for error with his split-finger fastball.

For a long time, that pitch dropped off the table and made Uehara almost unhittable, contrasted with his 88 mph fastball. Now, however, he hangs it too frequently and keeps getting burned with home runs.

Uehara has given up five homers this season; he allowed four in all of 2016.

The Sox have to find some other high-leverage options, either internally (Matt Barnes, Heath Hembree) or through trade.


Eduardo Rodriguez took a step forward

Rodriguez didn't pitch as well as he did in most starts in 2016, but it sure represented a sizable improvement over the last three outings.

For one thing, his velocity was easily the best it's been this season, with his fastball regularly at 95-96 mph. For another, he had better overall command with just two walks in six innings.

He also wasn't tipping his changeup. Or, if he was, it wasn't nearly as obvious as the last few starts.

Of the four runs he allowed, just three were earned, and his delivery seemed more natural.


It's too early to say whether the solo homer by Hanley Ramirez means he's out of his funk, but...

The line drive bullet he hit into the home bullpen in the sixth snapped a 4-4 tie and surely was a good sign.

The earlier at-bats - a called third strike and a GIDP - weren't anything special, but Ramirez stayed back on a pitch from Jose Quintana and drove it to right. When Ramirez goes the other way, it's almost always a good sign.

Next up for Hanley: avoid the pronouncements. After last week's promise that he had solved his issues and was on his way to an epic hot streak, he looked foolish when that failed to materialize.

Best to keep at it and let the results materialize.


Deven Marrero can pick it.

Marrero hasn't hit much. Not in the big leagues, where he hit .226 in September playing time. Nor, for that matter, at Triple A, where he's hit just .234 with little power (.307 slugging percentage).

But Marrero can field his position, whether that position is third base or shortstop.

That was again evident Wednesday night when he fielded a scorching grounder by Tim Anderson and got a force out at second base in the fifth inning.

Marrero had taken over at third for Travis Shaw, whose lower shin/ankle, first injured the previous night on a foul ball, flared up and forced him from the game.

The Red Sox' infield depth is perilous now, with both Josh Rutledge and Brock Holt on the DL and Shaw hobbling. The Sox may not get much in the way of pop from him, but they can rest assured that he'll do the job defensively.


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.

MORE - Sox signal they'll keep Swihart, may trade Marrero or Holt

“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.