Red Sox

Red Sox fire pitching coach Juan Nieves

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Red Sox fire pitching coach Juan Nieves

Beset with the worst ERA in the American League and a starting rotation that too often can't get past the fifth inning, the Red Sox fired pitching coach Juan Nieves Thursday.

The team did not immediately name a replacement.

Nieves was hired in November of 2012 and in his first season, oversaw a staff that helped the Red Sox win the World Series. That year, the club had a 3.79 ERA, the lowest mark for the franchise since 2002.

But the team followed that success with a last-place finish in 2014 and the team is off to a poor start through the first 28 games of 2015.

The Red Sox' pitching has been a major disappointment. The team added three established starters in the off-season -- two by trade (Rick Porcello, Wade Miley) and one free agent signing ( Justin Masterson).


But the Sox have a league-worst 4.86 staff ERA and their starters also ranked dead last with a 5.54 ERA.

When Justin Masterson failed to get out of the fifth inning, it marked the eighth time in 28 games that has happened this season.

Additionally, a number of young pitching prospects have stalled when trying to make the transition to the major leagues.

Brandon Workman was an effective reliever in the final two months of 2013 and again in the postseason, but took a major step backward last season.

A number of other prospects -- including Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa and Anthony Ranaudo -- all stumbled in 2014 and were all dealt away last winter.

Xander Bogaerts homers again, Red Sox beat Blue Jays 5-2

Xander Bogaerts homers again, Red Sox beat Blue Jays 5-2

BOSTON (AP) — Xander Bogaerts homered in his first at-bat a day after hitting a walk-off grand slam and drove in two runs, leading the Boston Red Sox past the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2 on Sunday to enter the All-Star break with their best record since 1949.

Brock Holt also drove in two runs for the AL East-leading Red Sox (68-30), who own the major league’s best record and have won 12 of their last 13 games.

Boston All-Star Mookie Betts went 0 for 3, lowering his major league-leading batting average to .359, and fellow-All Star J.D. Martinez enters the break with 29 homers and an MLB best 80 RBIs.

Teoscar Hernandez hit a two-run homer for the Blue Jays (43-52). Toronto’s dropped seven of 10 and fell to 3-10 against the Red Sox this season.

Brandon Workman (2-0), the first of five relievers, struck out the only batter he faced in the fifth after starter Brian Johnson was pulled with the score tied.

All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel got the final three outs for his 30th save, his eighth straight season with 30 or more. Johnson gave up two runs in 4 2/3 innings.

Jackie Bradley Jr.’s RBI double against Marcus Stroman (2-7) pushed Boston ahead 3-2 in the fifth, and he scored on Bogaerts run-scoring grounder off Stroman’s foot.

Holt’s second RBI single made it 5-2 an inning later.

Bogaerts, whose 10th-inning slam on Saturday gave Boston a 6-2 win, homered on the third pitch he saw, sending it completely out of Fenway Park over the Green Monster for his 16th of the season in the first. Holt’s RBI single made it 2-0 in the inning.

Hernandez’s shot went over the Monster in the third.

Stroman gave up four runs, three earned, on five hits in five innings.

SPECIAL TIMES

Going to the All-Star game will have special meaning for Kimbrel, who is planning to take his 8-month-old daughter and his wife, Ashley, on the trip to Washington D.C.

“Yeah, it is,” said Kimbrel of his seventh All-Star selection in the clubhouse Sunday morning. “It’s been a busy day trying to get everything ready.”

Kimbrel’s daughter, Lydia Joy, had two open-heart surgeries shortly after her birth, the second causing him to miss most of spring training.

First-timer Mitch Moreland has a different reason with his 5-year-old son, Crue.

“I think the biggest thing over the years is watching the Home Run Derby, the guys having their kids with them out on the field,” he said. “I’m looking forward to doing that with my son, my oldest, and I think he’s looking forward to that, too.”

Lefty ace Chris Sale rounds out Boston’s five All Stars.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: Placed CF Kevin Pillar on the 10-day disabled list with a sternoclavicular joint injury suffered making a diving catch and rolling over Saturday. . INF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was also placed on the 7-day concussion DL after sliding headfirst into first and colliding with Boston pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez’s leg.

Red Sox: DH Steve Pearce did some early-morning running on the field and was back in the lineup after missing two games with a bruised left shin from getting hit by a pitch on Thursday. . Rodriguez went on the 10-day DL with a sprained right ankle, opening a spot for Johnson, who was activated after a stint on the DL with left hip inflammation.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: Open their post-break schedule with the first of three at home against Baltimore on Friday.

Red Sox: Begin a three-game series in Detroit on Friday.

Red Sox place Eduardo Rodriguez (right ankle sprain) on 10-day disabled list; Brian Johnson activated off DL

Red Sox place Eduardo Rodriguez (right ankle sprain) on 10-day disabled list; Brian Johnson activated off DL

Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez left his Saturday outing against the Toronto Blue Jays after injuring his right ankle covering first base.

Boston has now placed him on the 10-day disabled list with the injury diagnosed as a right ankle sprain. Brian Johnson was activated off the 10-day DL Sunday. 

Click here for a replay of the injury. 

Rodriguez pitched 5.1 shutout innings, striking out five before exiting the game. Alex Cora told reporters after Saturday's win the swelling in Rodriguez's ankle, "looked bad."

This injury comes at a terrible time for the 25-year-old lefty. He is 11-3 on the season with a 3.44 ERA, easily marking the best year of his career to date. 

The silver lining is the MLB All Star break is upon us. Boston will wrap up its first half Sunday with a 1:05 p.m. EST game against Toronto, and will not return to the diamond until July 20th in Detroit.

Rodriguez could use the break to get healthy with his next start scheduled 10 days from now. 

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