Red Sox

Well-rested Pomeranz rocked in shortest outing of season


Well-rested Pomeranz rocked in shortest outing of season

BOSTON -The Red Sox thought they were doing the right thing by giving starter Drew Pomeranz additional rest before Tuesday's start.

The lefty was originally scheduled to pitch on Sunday, the final game of the team's nine-game road trip. But that would have come against the predominantly righthanded Toronto Blue Jays, a bad matchup on paper.

Moreover, mindful that Pomeranz has already pitched more innings at the big league level this season than ever before, the Sox thought that the extra rest would be beneficial.

Instead, it may have contributed to his poor outing.

Pomeranz, pitching with seven days' rest, was rocked for five runs on two homers in the second inning and after allowing a leadoff single in the third, was pulled for his shortest outing of the season.

The lefty has had three poor starts among the 11 starts he's made for the Red Sox and two of them have come with extra rest.

In his debut with the Sox, on July 20, he was pitching with 12 days off -- unavoidable, in part because it was the result of both changing teams during the All-Star break and the All-Star break itself.

On Tuesday, he was pitching with the benefit of seven days -- and it didn't seem to do him any good.

"I just got into some tight spots and didn't make pitches when I needed to,'' offered Pomeranz after the Red Sox lost 6-3 to Baltimore. "That's about how it went.''

But he later detailed that when he attempting to make pitches inside to Orioles hitters, "balls were just shooting back over the middle of the plate.''

And that may well have been the rest of being too strong, after a little too much time between outings.

"I don't know. . . sometimes you can be out of rhythm a little bit,'' acknowledged Pomeranz, when quizzed about the impact of the extra time between outings. "But it just came down to not making pitches when I need to.''

The home runs -- a three-run shot by J.J. Hardy and a two-run belt by Nolan Reimold -- came when he didn't execute or locate. Hardy hit a fastball that was left up in the zone, while Reimold got ahold of a hanging curveball.

But both hit multi-run homers in part because Pomeranz had issued walks - to Chris Davis two batters ahead of Hardy and to Drew Stubbs immediately before Reimold connected.

Even if the homers themselves weren't the result of being too strong, perhaps the walks and, later, getting into hitter's counts with men on base, were.


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."