Red Sox

First impressions of the Red Sox’ 12-5 win over the Rangers

First impressions of the Red Sox’ 12-5 win over the Rangers

BOSTON -- First Impressions from the Boston Red Sox' 12-5 win over the Texas Rangers:

* Rick Porcello righted himself after the first.

Porcello needed 34 pitches to get through the first inning, during which he allowed four runs.

But over the next five innings, Porcello kept the Rangers off the scoreboard and averaged just under 14 pitches per inning. Per usual, Porcello allowed his share of hits -- 12 in six innings -- because he's a pitch-to-contact guy who doesn't miss a lot of bats (just three strikeouts).

But after the bullpen was forced to get 12 outs Sunday and 14 on Saturday night, the Red Sox needed some length from Porcello and he gave it to them while buying time for his teammates to come back.

* Hanley Ramirez has turned the power back on.

Ramirez has just eight homers at the halfway point, but in recent weeks, he's at least supplying some extra-base pop.

Ramirez had two doubles Monday, and has five doubles in the last three games.

Moreover, his slugging percentage, which had been as low as .377 as recently as June 21, is now up a more respectable .438.

That's not exactly what you might expect from a No. 5 hitter in a high-scoring lineup, but it is evidence that Ramirez has figured some things out at the plate and is driving the ball with far more consistency.

He's also knocked in nine runs in his last 11 games.

* It's tough to trust Koji Uehara in a close game.

Uehara allowed a solo homer to the first hitter he faced in the eighth. Rougned Odor hit a -- you guessed it -- a split-finger fastball into the Monster Seats.

It was the seventh homer allowed in 32 1/3 innings by Uehara this season, two more than he allowed all of last season. And, of course, we're one game past the halfway point of the season.

On the Red Sox pitching staff, the only three pitchers who've allowed more homers are all starters.

And it's worse than it looks: all seven of those homers have come in Uehara's last 18 appearances.

Sean McAdam can be followed on Twitter: @Sean_McAdam

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.


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

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

Blake Swihart’s strong spring seems to have the Red Sox more inclined to deal one of their natural utility infielders, such as Brock Holt or Deven Marrero, rather than Swihart, a converted catcher with high upside who's getting a look in other roles.
"Sounds like they’re holding Swihart to open," a rival executive said. "More likely to move a utility guy."
A true utility guy, that is.


The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported Sunday that Marrero has been drawing interest from other teams.

"We do have depth with our middle infielders," Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Monday. "However, [I] would not get into potential trade discussions."
Swihart, who turns 26 on April 3, is most valuable as a catcher. But he could still be useful in a bench role for the 2018 Red Sox, and a win-now mentality may be the driving force here. (It is possible, as well, that there is nothing available via trade for Swihart that has piqued the Sox’ interest. Marrero or Holt wouldn’t require as much in return.)
The potential drawback is that Swihart won’t grow much if he’s not playing every day -- and in particular, if he's not catching every day. But the Sox may be be at a juncture where they feel his bat is a worthwhile experiment off the bench, at least for this season. They can figure out his future -- and their future at backstop -- later.
"He’s a great athlete," Cora told reporters on Sunday. "We’ve seen it in the batter’s box. It’s not only the results, but the way he’s driving the ball to left field as a left-hander, the quality of at-bats as a right-hander. [On Saturday], as a pinch-hitter, that kid was throwing 99 and he throws a breaking ball and squares a ball up."
Swihart entered Monday with a .283 average in Grapefruit League play, with a .905 OPS and a pair of home runs. But he does not have the infield experience that Marrero or Holt has, and the Red Sox essentially have to carry one of those two to start the year. 
Eduardo Nunez, the temporary replacement for Dustin Pedroia, is coming off a knee injury, and a sure-handed infielder -- Marrero’s glove is particularly good -- is a must. Rafael Devers is still coming into his own at third base. 
Tzu-Wei Lin is available in the minors too, and the Sox could see some redundancy with him, Holt and Marrero. Lin, unlike Marrero, has minor league options remaining. Lin also has some limited outfield experience.
The way the Sox roster looks now, they have two spots available for the three guys: Marrero, Holt and Swihart. Health can change that. Holt, despite being the most veteran of the group, has minor league options remaining, so he theoretically could go to Triple-A to start the season. But if the Sox don't see a role for him on this year's team any way, they'd be wiser trading him, considering he's due to make $2.225 million. It also would be kindest choice for Holt, to let him have an opportunity elsewhere, if one exists.


Swihart has played first base, third base and left field in addition to catching this spring. Perhaps, in time, there will be a way to work Swihart in behind the plate for the Sox. At the least, retaining him would be insurance if Christian Vazquez or Sandy Leon do not perform well offensively.
There was a clear personal-catcher system for the Red Sox in 2017. Leon was Chris Sale’s guy, for example. Manager Alex Cora said he is not taking that approach. As an auxiliary effect, moving away from a personal-catcher system might make it easier for Swihart to receive more time behind the plate, if called on.
"Whoever I feel comfortable with that day behind the plate, he'll catch," Cora told reporters in Florida. "Christian already caught him. Sandy's going to catch him today. And then the next turn, Christian's going to catch him. Everybody's going to work with everybody."