Red Sox

First impressions: Wright's hard luck loss; big out at third


First impressions: Wright's hard luck loss; big out at third

*Steven Wright is back on track.

Wright had his worst start of the season last time out, and because knuckleballers are notoriously streaky, some feared that that might signal the start of a downturn for Wright.
Turns out, however, that Wright's last bad start had more to do with the slippery conditions and steady rain through which he had to pitch.
On Wednesday, he was back to his consistent self, going eight innings and allowing just three runs -- none between the first and and sixth innings.

*Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to 23 games -- and did it the hard way.

Bradley was hitless in his first three plate appearances and had to do it against ace closer Wade Davis in the ninth.
But in a perfect example of how Bradley has grown as a hitter, it didn't matter whom Bradley was facing. He slapped a hard single to right in the ninth to extend the streak.

*Aggressive baserunning is fine when it works, not so much when it doesn't.

Through most of the first 40 games, the Sox ran the bases with  aggressiveness, and were praised for it. It was a sign that the Sox were committed, engaged and intent on putting pressure on the opposition.
Of course, there are risks associated with that kind of play and we've seen it twice in the first two games against Kansas City. On Tuesday night, Bogaerts, representing the tying run at the time, was cut down trying to steal second.
Then, on Wednesday afternoon, Bogaerts was again representing the tying run when he tried to go first-to-third in the eighth on a single by David Ortiz and was cut down.

*The Royals bullpen is still the model by which all others are measured.

The late-inning relief has been a key to the Royals winning the last two American League pennants, and last October, winning the World Series.
The Sox have seen it first-hand the past two games, with hard throwers such as Luke Hochevar, Kelim Herrera and Wade Davis shutting down the Sox in the last few frames.
This is what the Red Sox envisioned when they obtained Craig Kimbrel and Carson Smith last winter in a search for swing-and-miss weapons in the late innings. But Smith has been injured much of the season and may be heading back to the DL, robbing the Sox of their intended bullpen plan.


Kimbrel returns to Red Sox after daughter's heart surgery

File photo

Kimbrel returns to Red Sox after daughter's heart surgery

All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel returned to Fort Myers on Sunday after his 4-month-old daughter underwent successful heart surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Red Sox are confident he'll be ready for Opening Day.

“Oh, yeah. Plenty,” manager Alex Cora replied when asked if Kimbrel had time to get ready for the March 29 opener against the Rays in St. Petersburg. “With him it’s a different schedule, anyway. He’ll be ready.”

Kimbrel's daughter, Lydia Joy, was born with a heart defect. He left the team Feb. 28 to be with her and his family in Boston, but pitching coach Dana Levangie said Kimbrel was on a pitching program during that time.

“The most important thing is that the family is okay with [Kimbrel returning to the Sox],” Cora said. “If they’re okay with it, we’re okay with it.”

The Baseball Show Podcast: Should we be confident in the Red Sox rotation?

NBC Sports Boston Photo

The Baseball Show Podcast: Should we be confident in the Red Sox rotation?

0:21 - With less than two week before the beginning of the 2018 season, the Red Sox don’t have all of the answers for their rotation. Lou Merloni and Evan Drellich project their Opening Day rotation and discuss the lack of depth in it.

4:39 - Will Boston’s version of the ‘Killer B’s’ return in full force this season? Lou and Evan analyze the performances of Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew Benintendi.

10:07 - Buy or sell? John Farrell will find another managerial position this season; J.D. Martinez will have a better season than Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton; Dave Dombrowski has put the best possible team out there for 2018.