Red Sox

Help may be on the way for the Red Sox


Help may be on the way for the Red Sox

PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- The Red Sox beleaguered bullpen may be getting help at some point in the form of Pawtuckets Alex Wilson. The right-hander was scheduled to start the PawSox game against the ScrantonWilkes-Barre Yankees on Tuesday. Instead, Brandon Duckworth got the start with Wilson working out of the bullpen for the first time in his four-season career.

However, if Wilson is going to help, it wont be immediately. Tuesday was the first of his 69 professional appearances working out of the bullpen since being selected by the Sox in the second round of the 2009 draft. Earlier that season, though, he made 16 relief appearances, with two saves, for Texas A&M.

In his first appearance out of the PawSox pen, he pitched one inning, giving up a run on two hits with a strikeout. He faced five batters, throwing 19 pitches, 12 for strike.

There are adjustments to be made.

Its a little different, said Wilson, who turned 25 in November and is in his first full season at Pawtucket.. Its been about four years since Ive done that but its exciting. Its fun. Its something that I look at it as a good opportunity for me right now at this point in time.

Its just a matter of trying to figure out when to start getting loose, try not to throw too much but not throw too little down there warming up in the bullpen. And its just going to take a couple of outings and get the feel back, and really learn my body again for this kind of situation.

Wilson, who had made three starts this season, posting a record of 1-0 with a 5.52 ERA, was told after Mondays doubleheader of the organizations plan for him.

I was sat down and told they were going to they were going to make the switch, he said. The front office came to the decision to go ahead and slide me back there, not to look at it as a demotion but as an opportunity, and thats all. Im going to take that and run with it.

Against the Yankees Tuesday, Wilson gave up consecutive singles and a sacrifice fly, accounting for the run, before retiring the next two batters, including Jayson Nix on a strikeout looking, to end the inning.

He did a nice job, said PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler. We talked early about hisbullpen routine and he seemed to get up and wait and do what he was supposed to do. He didnt throw down there forever. He just got up and went in, and did what he does. I thought he did a nice job of getting the ball down.Thats where hes going to have to be to have some success, and thats what he hasnt been consistently this season.

Wilson said his repertoire lends itself well to a change to the bullpen.

I pretty much pitch the same way, he said. Ive always been a guy that comes right at you, fastball, slider, and changeup, if I need it, kind of deal. So I think itll play well into my game, actually.

Still, it will be a while before Wilson, who is not on the 40-man roster, is fully acclimated to his new role. He started an inning on Tuesday, but the Sox would like to get him into a variety of relief situations, including back-to-back appearances, and entering during an inning with runners on base.

Im lucky enough to have kind of done it before, so I know what its going to be like going into it, he said. But the biggest thing for me is not the physical aspect. Its the mindset of being ready every day. Ive been used to having four days off, not having to worry about game action or anything like that. So for me to be ready day in and day out, thatll be the biggest adjustment.

Up till this point he considered himself a starter. Now, hes a reliever. With an opportunity.

So its going to be an interesting year, he said. I didnt expect this but welcome it with open arms and hopefully itll work out well for the best.

Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0


Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

HOUSTON -- Jose Altuve embraced Justin Verlander as confetti rained down. An improbable thought just a few years ago, the Houston Astros are headed to the World Series.

Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers Jr. combined on a three-hitter, Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Astros reached the World Series for only the second time by blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Los Angeles opened as a narrow favorite, but Verlander, the ALCS MVP , and fellow Houston ace Dallas Keuchel will have plenty of rest before the World Series begins at sweltering Dodger Stadium.

"I love our personality," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We have the right amount of fun, the right amount of seriousness, the right amount of perspective when we need it. This is a very, very unique group. To win 100 games and still be hungry is pretty remarkable."

The Astros will try for their first World Series title, thanks in large part to Altuve , the diminutive second baseman who swings a potent bat, and Verlander, who switched teams for the first time in his career to chase a ring.

Four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees on consecutive nights after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first crown, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

"This city, they deserve this," McCullers said.

Clutch defensive plays by third baseman Alex Bregman and center fielder George Springer helped Houston improve to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and become the fifth team in major league history to capture a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four. A noted curveballer, McCullers finished up with 24 straight breaking pitches to earn his first major league save.

Combined, they throttled the wild-card Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron JudgeGary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

"I know people are going to talk about how we didn't win many games on the road. There were some other teams that haven't won many games on the road, either. We just happened to run into a very good team that just beat us," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

The Astros also eliminated New York in the 2015 postseason, with Keuchel winning the AL wild-card game at Yankee Stadium.

CC Sabathia entered 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double. He snapped an 0-for-20 skid with an RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night in a 7-1 win.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York went 1-6 on the road this postseason.

After going 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position through the first three innings, the Astros got on the board with no outs in the fourth with the 405-foot shot by Gattis.

Altuve launched a ball off Tommy Kahnle into the seats in right field with one out in the fifth for his fifth homer this postseason. It took a while for him to see that it was going to get out, and held onto his bat until he was halfway to first base before flipping it and trotting around the bases as chants of "MVP" rained down on him.

Altuve finished 8 for 25 with two homers and four RBIs in the ALCS after hitting .533 with three homers and four RBIs in the ALDS against Boston.

Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel hit consecutive singles before Kahnle struck out Gattis. McCann's two-strike double, which rolled into the corner of right field, cleared the bases to push the lead to 4-0. Gurriel slid to avoid the tag and remained on his belly in a swimming pose at the plate for a few seconds after he was called safe.

It was just the second Game 7 in franchise history for the Astros, who lost to the Cardinals in the 2004 NLCS exactly 13 years earlier.

Sabathia allowed five hits and one run while walking three in 3 1/3 innings. He wasn't nearly as sharp as he was in a Game 3 win and just 36 of the 65 pitches he threw were strikes.

Morton got into trouble in the fifth, and the Yankees had runners at the corners with one out. Bregman fielded a grounder hit by Todd Frazier and made a perfect throw home to allow McCann to tag Greg Bird and preserve Houston's lead. McCann held onto the ball despite Bird's cleat banging into his forearm. Chase Headley grounded out after that to end the inning.

A night after Springer kept Frazier from extra-bases with a leaping catch, Judge returned the favor on a ball hit by Yuli Gurriel. Judge sprinted, jumped and reached into the stands to grab his long fly ball before crashing into the wall and falling to the ground for the first out of the second inning.

Springer had another nifty catch in this one, jumping in front of Marwin Gonzalez at the wall in left-center to grab a ball hit by Bird for the first out of the seventh.

With McCullers in charge, the Astros soon closed it out.

"It's not easy to get here. And I don't take any of this for granted. And this is what we play for," Verlander said. "These are the experiences that you remember at the end of your career when you look back, winning these games, just playing the World Series. Hopefully winning the World Series."


Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

UPDATE: The deal is for three years, per Ken Rosenthal.

BOSTON — We’re just waiting on an announcement now.

A pair of national reports on Saturday afternoon, one from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal... 

...And another from MLB Network and's Jon Heyman...

have firmed up Alex Cora’s expected hiring as Red Sox manager. Both reported that Cora, the Astros bench coach, is expected to take the job once Houston's season ends, which could come as soon as Saturday night after Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. 

Heyman reported a contract offer has already been made to Cora. 

A baseball source said this week that there was “not a doubt” Cora, the Astros bench coach, would wind up with the Red Sox gig. It’s unclear when exactly the offer was made to him, but one had not been made as of midday Wednesday, the source said. 

Cora, 41, a former Red Sox infielder (2005-08) who's also worked in the media and is the most sought-after managerial candidate at the moment, appeared the front-runner since the outset of what proved a small search for the Red Sox.

Earlier, Boston Globe reported that the Washington Nationals were interested in Cora after they fired Dusty Baker on Friday.