Red Sox

Red Sox notes: Beckett's swagger yields results

191542.jpg

Red Sox notes: Beckett's swagger yields results

By Jessica Camerato and Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON - Call it swagger, call it confidence, call it what you want.

Whatever it is, the Boston Red Sox (3-10) like when Josh Beckett has it - and he brought it to the mound with him on Saturday against the Toronto Blue Jays (7-7).

Beckett (2-1) recorded nine strikeouts in seven innings while allowing only three hits and one earned run in the Red Sox' 4-1 victory.

Hes always been the leader of this staff, Terry Francona said after the game. I know he didnt pitch Opening Day, but guys look up to him. When hes going good and when he feels good about himself, hes got that, I dont know if its persona or swagger, I dont know how youd want to say it, but he gives our ball club a lot of confidence.

After giving up five hits and three earned runs in his first appearance of the season, Beckett has won his past two outings. He has struck out 19, given up only three walks, and posted an ERA of 0.60 during his back-to-back victories. Opponents are batting just .102 against him during this stretch.

Beckett is already noticing an improvement from last season, in which he went 6-6 with a 5.78 ERA.

I think execution-wise and health-wise and everything, I definitely think my last two starts have been a notch above what I was most of the year last year, he said.

Francona praised Beckett for using all of his pitches and working his way back if he fell behind in the count. Jason Varitek noticed him making adjustments to stay on top.

I didnt see us behind too too much, but he continued to make quality pitches if he did fall behind, Varitek said. He had a good game plan. We had to mix in a little more cutters today than we did in his last outing, but sometimes you have to adapt to what you have.

Beckett had enough on Saturday to give the Red Sox their third win of the season, one they hope will give them momentum.

Its nice to pitch well, Beckett said. Weve got to win some more games, however we got to do it, if we got to win 15-12, whatever. Weve got to win games. Like I said, its nice to pitch well but it doesnt make it any easier on the other days.

The good news is that everyone on the Red Sox is trying to boost the teams run production. The not-so-good news is that sometimes trying too hard can be counterproductive, resulting in an increased number of men left on base. On Saturday, the Red Sox left 11 stranded.

I think for the most part when you see guys in the lineup not getting it done and then its your turn, you press and you try harder, Adrian Gonzalez (1-3, 1 RBI) said. Usually that doesnt come out with good results. Ive been in it a lot of times in the past where its just a group effort, everyones trying so hard to get that run in, that it just doesnt happen.

Gonzalez expects there to be a domino effect once players start hitting the ball.

When we start getting those to fall and getting more hits, it will just kind of snowball into a point where were going to be hitting .500 for a period of time, he said. Thats just the game and weve just got to keep going out there and grinding out at bats.

Matt Albers will make a pair of rehab appearances in Pawtucket on Sunday and Tuesday. The right handed pitcher has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 6 with an oblique strain.

I hope to go down there and get into a game situation again, he said on Saturday. Thatll be nice. Ill try to get the juices flowing and make sure my arm feels good and everything. Thats what I hope to accomplish.

Albers has pitched in two games this season, recording three strikeouts and two walks without giving up a run over two innings. He is looking forward to getting back on the mound.

I think it just makes me get back out there and face real hitters and get some real at-bats, he said. I want to just keep doing what I was doing. Hopefully come in and be able to throw strikes and get outs.

As the Red Sox get their season underway, their fellow Boston athletes on the Celtics will kick off their postseason on Sunday against the New York Knicks. Many of the Sox are eager to see how the Cs will perform.

I want to see Rajon Rondo, said Mike Cameron. I just want to see him get back in his game, going off. And I want to see how The Truth handles Melo and see Ray Allen do his thing - sharpshooter, marksman.

Said Carl Crawford, I just like to watch good basketball. I know they have a good team and a highly competitive team, so Id like to see what theyre going to do.

Jed Lowries first-inning single was the first hit by a Red Sox lead-off batter in the first inning of a game. It took 13 games to accomplish the feat. Jacoby Ellsbury reached base by a walk on April 2 in Texas, and Carl Crawford reached when he was hit by a pitch on April 12 against Tampa Bay. It was Lowries first career appearance in the lead-off spot.

The Jays stole three bases in the game, getting caught once. That gives them seven steals in the series, against one caught stealing. Red Sox catchers are 3-for-19 (15.8 percent) throwing out attempted base stealers this season.

Ellsbury reached base three times two walks, and getting hit by a pitch once. It was the second time he has reached base three times this season. The last was Opening Day, April 1, in Texas.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcameratonba

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Report: Ex-Red Sox reliever Reed gets deal with Twins

red_sox_addison_reed_080317.jpg

Report: Ex-Red Sox reliever Reed gets deal with Twins

He was dubbed "Closer B" by Red Sox manager John Farrell when acquired at the trade deadline last summer, now Addison Reed is "Closer B Gone"...to the Twins.

The right-handed reliever, 29, has agreed to a two-year, $16.75 million free-agent deal with Minnesota, pending a physical, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and TheAthletic.com reports. 

Reed began last season with the Mets and had 19 saves and a 2.57 ERA before being traded to the Red Sox, where he had a 3.33 ERA in 29 games (27 innings) without a save as a setup man for Craig Kimbrell.  
 

Red Sox, Mookie Betts far apart on salary and heading toward arbitration

red-sox-mookie-betts.jpg

Red Sox, Mookie Betts far apart on salary and heading toward arbitration

The Red Sox and star right fielder Mookie Betts intend to go to an arbitration hearing in February, and there were signs this was coming even a year ago.

Betts was the only arbitration-eligible player on the Red Sox who did not settle on a contract with the team on Friday, when a deadline arrived for all teams and arbitration-eligible players to exchange 2018 salary figures. Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts and Drew Pomeranz were the biggest names to avoid hearings.

Betts filed for a $10.5 million salary and the Red Sox filed at $7.5 million.  Betts and the Red Sox agreed previously that if no figure could be settled on by the Friday deadline, they would proceed to a hearing, assistant general manager Brian O'Halloran said. 

A three-person panel of arbitrators therefore is set to determine what Betts makes in 2018: either the $7.5 million figure the Sox filed or the $10.5 million figure Betts' camp submitted. The arbitrators won't settle on a midpoint for the parties. 

O'Halloran noted to the Globe there are no hard feelings involved.

Nonetheless, such a large gap would seem to provide incentive to settle. The parties technically could still decide to do so, but that would take a change of course from the present plan. The idea was to settle any time before Friday, and they did not. 

Betts is asking for near-record money for a first-year arbitration eligible player. Kris Bryant set the record Friday with a $10.85 million settlement.

The hearings can be difficult for player-team relations because teams have to make the case in front of the player that he is worth less money than he wants.

Betts, 25, hit .264, with 24 homers, 102 RBI, 25 stolen bases and a .803 OPS in 2017, numbers that fell from his American League MVP runner-up performance in 2016, but were nonetheless very strong and coupled with first-rate defense.

This offseason is Betts' first of arbitration eligibility. In the first three years of service time in a players' career, there's no recourse if you don't like the salary a team is offering. Teams can pay players anything at league minimum or above. 

The only option a player has in those first three years is to make a stand on principle: you can force the team to technically "renew" your salary, which notes to everyone that you did not agree to the salary. Betts and his agents did that in 2017 when the Sox paid him $950,000, a very high amount relative to most contract renewals.

Some of the standard thinking behind forcing a team to renew a contract is that if an arbitration case comes up down the road — and one now looms for Betts — it's supposed to show the arbitrators that the player felt even in seasons past, he was underpaid.

Still, the Sox may have effectively combatted that perception by paying Betts almost $1 million on a renewal. Per USA Today, that $950,000 agreement in 2017 was "the second-highest one-year deal ever for a non-arbitration-eligible player with two-plus years of big league service." Mike Trout got $1 million in 2014.