Red Sox

Sox hold off Twins for 7-6 win, series sweep


Sox hold off Twins for 7-6 win, series sweep

MINNEAPOLIS -- For a time Wednesday night, it appeared as though the Red Sox bullpen might duplicate its implosion on Saturday against the New York Yankees.
What had been a 7-1 lead for the Sox turned dicey when starter Clay Buchholz and three relievers combined to allow five runs in the sixth inning to the Minnesota Twins.
But Matt Albers got an inning-ending double play ball and Vicenta Padilla and Franklin Morales combined to get the next six hitters in a row as the Red Sox held off the Twins, 7-6, for Boston's third straight victory and a sweep of the series.
Alfredo Aceves turned back the Twins in the ninth to notch his second save of the series and fourth of the season, though it was not without its drama as the closer loaded the bases on a walk, single and a hit batsman.
But Aceves got Denard Span swinging for the final out to preserve the one-run margin.
The Sox, who were outhit 14-10, jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the third inning thanks to a run-scoring single from Cody Ross, a three-run homer by Mike Aviles and a two-run single by Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Clay Buchholz, who picked up the win, was in and out of trouble most of the night. He didn't have a 1-2-3 inning until the fifth and allowed 10 hits and three walks in just 5 13 innings. In all four of his starts this season, Buchholz has given up at least five earned runs.
Dustin Pedroia doubled in the first, singled in the third and tripled in the fifth but fell a homer shy of reaching the cycle.
STAR OF THE GAME: Mike Aviles continued his hot streak when he clubbed a two-run homer in the second, part of the Red Sox' four-run inning. For the series, the shortstop was 6-for-13 with two homers, two doubles, five RBI and five runs scored.
HONORABLE MENTION: The Twins scored five times in the bottom of the sixth, chasing starter Clay Buchholz and roughing up the Boston bullpen. But with the Sox clinging to a one-run lead, Vincente Padilla came in for the bottom of the seventh and gave the Red Sox a quick 1-2-3 inning, restoring the momentum to Boston's side.
GOAT OF THE GAME: For the third time in as many games, the Twins' starter didn't give his team much of a chance. Liam Hendriks was tagged for seven runs on nine hits in just four innings.
TURNING POINT: The Twins had already scored five runs in the sixth and had the bases loaded with Sean Burroughs up. But Matt Albers got Burroughs to rap into an inning-ending, rally-killing double play, stranding two baserunners.
BY THE NUMBERS: The Red Sox sweep of the Twins here was the first for the Sox in Minneapolis since July 3-6, 2000.
QUOTE OF NOTE: "We got a win. That's what it's all about in the end.'' Bobby Valentine on the rocky road taken to victory.

Pedroia cleared to start running, progressing well


Pedroia cleared to start running, progressing well

Dustin Pedroia has been cleared to run following October surgery on his right knee.

“It’s been pretty much what they thought it would be,” Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said Thursday. “This is always the time they had told me. So you start running at this point, but that’s just running. So you’re not cutting, you’re not doing all things. We still have two and a half months until opening day. 

“I cant say he would never be ready, but we’re not pushing him for that. I think it’s more important he follows step by step. So you run, then cut, then you pick up the pace. But he’s made very positive strides. But that’s why he’s not going to be there this weekend, with the big crowds and all the treatment he has it’s probably not good for him in case someone would run into him accidentally. But he’s making good strides.”

Pedroia told WEEI this month that he’s eyeing Opening Day. Dombrowski said at Alex Cora’s introductory press conference in November that the Red Sox were targeting May. 

“We think Pedey is going to be back in May at some point right now if you listen to what the doctor has to say," Dombrowski said.

  • Dombrowski expects Mookie Betts and the Sox will wind up at a hearing, as assistant general manager Brian O’Halloran also said. The team made clear that if filing numbers were exchanged, a hearing would follow. That’s called a “file and go” approach, or “file and trial” or “file to go.” The Sox don’t employ the approach universally — they exchanged numbers with Drew Pomeranz before settling last year — but it is the approach they’re taking with Betts. A panel of arbitrators will decide if he makes $10.5 million, as Betts filed for, or $7.5 million, as the Red Sox filed for (barring an unexpected settlement before then).



Return to health may mean a return to form for Bradley


Return to health may mean a return to form for Bradley

BOSTON -- It’s well known that Xander Bogaerts was playing hurt for much of 2017. All players in a 162-game season work through multiple injuries, nicks, strains and sometimes worse.

But it has probably gone too far under the radar that Jackie Bradley Jr. was not physically himself last season.

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One of the reasons to believe Bradley can rebound in 2017 — and a reason to advocate keeping a cost-controlled player who is both comfortable in Boston and immensely talented — is renewed health.

Bradley suffered a right knee sprain in April that put him in a brace through May. He sprained his left thumb in August. A baseball source with direct knowledge of Bradley’s situation emphasized his injuries did affect him.

Bradley, like many players, on Thursday did not want to discuss the extent of his health.

“Y’all know I’m never gonna say anything about that. It’s just not who I am,” Bradley told NBC Sports Boston before accepting the Defensive Player of the Year award at the 79th annual Boston baseball writers awards dinner. “But as a player, you just have to deal. You’re injured. But I felt at the time that I could still help the team out. So I was in a brace. I think once I got it off, it actually was feeling pretty good."

It didn’t linger all year, Bradley said.

“It felt pretty good until the thumb happened,” Bradley said. “But it’s one of those things where nobody’s ever really 100 percent. You grind, and you make the best with what’s due.”

Bradley slashed .245/.323/.402 in 2017 with 17 home runs. That's down from a .267/.349/.486 line with 26 home runs in 2016.

One of the things Bradley wants to do more of in 2018 is steal bases. He stole eight last season after a career-high nine the year before. In the minors, he stole 24 bases in one season (2012, between High-A and Double-A).

“I’ve always wanted to run more and I’m glad he’s going to give me the opportunity to be able to do that more often,” Bradley said of new manager Alex Cora. “I’ve always felt like I can run. I feel like I’ve gotten stronger every year. I’ve been pretty successful on the base paths but I guess certain times situations did not dictate it in the past. The red light was something more of a thing they wanted to do with certain people at bat instead of taking the next base.”

Asked if he considered how his health would play into stealing, Bradley noted the reward available.

“I’ve never gotten hurt stealing,” Bradley said. “I’m not saying there’s not a possibility, obviously there’s a possibility. Guys who steal a ton of bags can attest to that. Jacoby [Ellsbury], Billy [Hamilton], stuff like that. There is risk/reward. But, I feel like the reward outweighs the risk in most cases. I just want to be in scoring position. That’s what I want to be in. I want to help.” Bradley acknowledged that he heard about the trade rumors this offseason.

"Yeah that’s one of those things where you do see it,” Bradley said. “You definitely have family members who are constantly talking to you about it. You know, ‘Well, what if this, what if that?’ 

“Well, what if this what if that? What will be, will be. That has always been my mindset. It’s something that I can’t really control. You know, so, I’m just not going to worry about it. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, I’m perfectly fine. I feel like I’m in a great situation. I feel like I have great teammates. I’m glad to be around them. And like I said, I understand if it did happen, then it’s something that I’ll have to live with.”

Bradley said he and his teammates have not discussed how long they will (or won’t) be together.