|Jonny Gomes refuses to accept ‘seller’ mentality despite dwindling playoff odds||07.05.14 at 3:27 pm ET|
The outlook of the 2014 season looks grim for the Red Sox.
Entering Saturday’s doubleheader with a 38-47 record, Boston sits eight games behind first-place Toronto in the division standings and only have three more victories than the team with the worst record in baseball – the Diamondbacks.
The prospect of October baseball in Boston looks slim at this point. According to Fangraphs, Boston has just a 7.5 percent chance of making the playoffs, with a minuscule 0.8 percent chance of winning the World Series.
As the Red Sox continue to slide in the standings, the possibility of Boston accepting the role of “seller” and trading away veteran players in order to rebuild for future seasons has become a scenario that could easily become a reality in the coming weeks as the July 31 trade deadline draws closer.
Just don’t tell any of that to Jonny Gomes.
While Boston was only one game ahead of the Rays for last place in the AL East heading into Saturday, Gomes said that he’s not ready to jump ship on the 2014 campaign, adding that the main goal for the club is to just get an opportunity to make it to the postseason.
“I think, where we’re at right now, if you think this team and this organization should sell, therefore to throw in the white towel in 2014, you don’t know much about the history of the game,” Gomes said. “If we were to win the division – maybe not win the division – but one of the Wild Cards, we’re going to make history.
“Plenty of teams have done this – plenty, plenty, plenty. Plenty of teams have won the World Series by winning the Wild Card. It’s not about going in the front door, there’s side doors and back doors too now. There’s not one person in there whose goal has changed of winning the division and winning the World Series. Do we have our work cut out for us? Sure. And the people at the top got their work cut out for them too [with] targets on their back.
“Listen, I’m not going to be a seller. I don’t want this team to be a seller. I think, in any situation, the attitude to have is add versus subtract. … Like I said, from my past places and my past years of experience, I’m scarred to be Positive Pete. Granted, the end goal for everyone is to win the World Series, but just getting in is the first goal.”
|Sunday’s Red Sox-Athletics matchups: Jon Lester vs. Tommy Milone||06.22.14 at 8:15 am ET|
Baring a poor start on June 7 against the Tigers in which the left-hander allowed five earned runs over 4 1/3 innings, Lester (8-7, 3.20 ERA) has seemingly hit his stride in June. He has allowed one earned run or fewer in three of his four starts this month.
In his last start on Tuesday against the Twins, Lester fought through a 33-pitch first inning en route to another great performance, surrendering just four hits and one earned run over 6 1/3 innings of work.
“The approach doesn’t change,” Lester said after the game. “I think the biggest thing for me was a lot of foul balls tonight. You can’t really change a whole lot on that. You just hope that they put a bad part of the bat on the ball and hit it at somebody or get a hit or just move on. No, I don’t think your approach changes. You’ve just got to keep attacking and hopefully they hit it at somebody.”
Lester was dominant in his last start against Oakland on May 3, allowing just one hit and striking out a career-high 15 batters over eight innings of work. In 13 career starts against Oakland, Lester is 5-4 with a 3.77 ERA.
Milone (5-3, 3.56 ERA) has been one of the steadiest pitchers in the American League this season, surrendering three runs or less in 11 of his 13 starts this season.
Millone was solid in his last start Tuesday against the Rangers, allowing three runs over 5 2/3 innings in what resulted in a 10-6 Oakland victory.
“Every game I just try to stay within myself and not do too much,” Milone said after the game. “I’m trying to get those guys out and so far it’s been working. When we’re scoring runs, pitchers in general just attack the zone and throw strikes.”
|Power Rankings: Rating potential Red Sox postseason opponents||09.17.13 at 9:48 am ET|
“We still have work to do.”
This has become Red Sox manager John Farrell’s mantra leading into the final 11 games. But the reality is that the work to be done isn’t about the regular season, but rather what awaits come Oct. 4. That’s when the Sox will kick off their best-of-five American League Division Series against some yet-to-be-determined team.
So, with the reality of a playoff series looming, let’s take a look at which teams the Red Sox will most want to face, and which ones they’ll probably want to steer clear of:
The A’s have the second-best record in the American League, standing three games in back of the Red Sox. But the reason why they get the nod over the ultra-talented Tigers is for the simple reason that Bob Melvin‘s club is red hot. Sure, they got blown out by the Angels on Monday night, but since Aug. 26 they are 16-5 and had won eight of nine games before their latest loss.
Record vs. Red Sox: 3-3
Why Red Sox won’t want to play them: During the A’s recent run (starting on Aug. 26), they have three pitchers with ERAs under 2.00 — Bartolo Colon (4 starts, 1.13 ERA), Sonny Gray (3 starts, 1.83 ERA) and Dan Straily (4 starts, 1.90 ERA). Colon, in particular, has given the Sox trouble, allowing two runs in 13 2/3 innings this season. The A’s also possess the same kind of opportunistic success that has characterized the Red Sox, carrying a .342 batting average with runners in scoring position over the last 21 games.
Why Red Sox will want to play them: Two of the A’s hottest pitchers (Gray, Straily) are, for all intents and purposes, rookies. They haven’t faced a Red Sox lineup that has fared quite well against newbie hurlers this season. Also, during Oakland’s hot stretch, its bullpen hasn’t exactly been lights out, carrying a 4.81 ERA in that span, with hitters managing a .314 batting average against closer Grant Balfour in the last three weeks of games.
Considered by many as the American League’s most talented team from top to bottom, the American League Central-leading Tigers are one game behind Oakland and four games in back of the Sox. After treading water in recent weeks, Detroit has managed to find something of a groove lately, winning five of their last six games (albeit with three of the wins coming against the Mariners and the White Sox). Read the rest of this entry »
|Saturday’s Red Sox-Athletics Game 2 matchups: Erik Bedard vs. Graham Godfrey||08.27.11 at 6:36 pm ET|
Erik Bedard (4-9, 3.57 ERA) takes the mound in the nightcap, still looking for his first win with the Red Sox. Bedard pitched well for the first five innings of his Aug. 22 start against the Rangers but then allowed three runs in the sixth to put the game out of reach against Red Sox killer C.J. Wilson. More encouraging than the loss was Bedard’s 108 total pitches, the most since June 5 with the Mariners. Bedard also walked fewer than two batters for the third time in four starts with the Red Sox.
Bedard last faced the Athletics in 2009, going 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA. Though 4-3 with a 2.89 ERA lifetime against Oakland, Bedard has dominated the A’s recently, winning his last four decisions dating back to July 20, 2007.
Only five Athletics have faced Bedard, and of them Hideki Matsui poses the biggest challenge. Matsui is batting .409 with a .458 OBP against Bedard, and his four RBIs are the only RBIs Oakland has. Conor Jackson‘s double is the only extra-base hit. The Athletics collectively bat .197 with a .279 OBP and .213 slugging against Bedard.
Graham Godfrey (1-1, 4.24 ERA) will be making just his fourth career appearance in the big leagues, and his first since June 23. The 27-year-old was drafted out of the College of Charleston by the Blue Jays in the 34th round of the 2006 draft, and was traded to Oakland for Marco Scutaro in 2007. In five minor league seasons, Godfrey is 39-34 with a 4.14 ERA and a WHIP of 1.38
Godfrey did not fare well in his major league debut against the White Sox on June 10, when he allowed five runs on nine hits and a home run over 4 1/3 innings. He showed significant improvement in his next start, holding the Giants to one run on six hits through seven innings to earn his first career win. Godfrey has thrown at least 90 pitches in each of this three starts.
The right-hander has struggled on the road, allowing nine of his 11 runs away from home and allowing opposing batters to hit .349, compared with .222 at home. Right-handers have dominated Godfrey, hitting .400 with two home runs in 12 combined at-bats. The Oakland starter has yet to face the Red Sox, who lead the league in batting average and slugging percentage, and rank second in runs scored and on-base percentage.
Athletics vs. Bedard
Hideki Matsui (24 plate appearances): .409 BA/.458 OBP/.409 SLG, 4 RBIs
Coco Crisp (14): .077/.143/.077
Kurt Suzuki (11): .000/.091/.000
David DeJesus (9): .000/.222/.000
Ryan Sweeney (7): .167/.286/.167
Conor Jackson is 1-for-3 with a double in three appearances.
Brandon Allen, Cliff Pennington, Scott Sizemore, Eric Sogard, Jemile Weeks and Josh Willingham have not faced Bedard.
Red Sox vs. Godfrey
No player on the Red Sox roster has faced the Oakland starter.
|Trade Deadline: A’s have trade pieces to upgrade offense||07.12.11 at 4:03 pm ET|
Oakland has one of the best pitching staffs in the majors with a 3.14 team ERA, but the A’s rank 28th in runs scored. Josh Willingham leads the team with 11 home runs and 44 RBI. As of Tuesday, the A’s are 12 games back of Rangers for first place in the AL West.
|Sunday’s Red Sox-Athletics matchups: John Lackey vs. Brett Anderson||06.04.11 at 4:08 pm ET|
John Lackey plans to make his long-awaited return from the DL and his first appearance since May 11 against the A’s Sunday at 1:35 p.m. While the veteran had some obvious struggles to start the season, Oakland will counter with Brett Anderson, a young righty who has dominated the Red Sox to this point in his career.
Lackey (2-5, 8.01 ERA) said he felt good in Tuesday’s rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket, where he threw 5 2/3 innings of one-run, three-hit ball. Lackey struck out four and walked none but did surrender a home run. The 32-year-old was far from convincing in his last two starts before hitting the DL with an elbow injury, giving up nine runs to the Blue Jays and eight runs to the Angels. In his first seven starts, Lackey surrendered 35 runs and allowed opponents to hit a combined .393. In 15 innings at home, Lackey has allowed 16 runs on 24 hits, while striking out just six batters.
The right-hander will have a chance to get back on track against a familiar opponent, as the Athletics have a combined 287 plate appearances against Lackey, dating back to his AL West days as a member of the Angels. In his nine-year career, the A’s have hit a combined .244 off Lackey with five homers and 25 RBI. However, Oakland has struggled offensively this season, and has the second-lowest run total in the American League.
Mark Ellis has seen the Boston starter a team-high 71 times, hitting .267 with eight doubles, five RBI, and 10 strikeouts. Former Red Sox speedster Coco Crisp has just five hits in 32 plate appearances vs. Lackey, but two of those hits were home runs. Daric Barton has had the most success against the righty, posting a .308 average to go along with a homer, four doubles, and three RBI.
Anderson (3-5, 3.68 ERA) has pitched well for the most part, but a lack of run support has led to three losses in his last four decisions. The 23-year-old pitched brilliantly against the Angels on May 26, throwing a three-hit shutout through eight strong innings. However, he got shelled by the Yankees in his last start, giving up ten runs on eleven hits through 5 1/3 innings. It was by far his worst outing of the year, and ballooned his ERA up from 2.84.
Every Boston regular has seen Anderson at least once, but no one on the roster has faced him more than 15 times. In this limited experience, Anderson has dominated the Red Sox. The left-hander hasn’t allowed a single earned run against Boston, and has held the Sox to a combined .111 average in 94 plate appearances.
Jed Lowrie‘s .222 average against Anderson is a team high, while Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, and Adrian Gonzalez are hitting a combined four-for-28 against the A’s starter. Anderson shut down the Red Sox back on April 19, holding them scoreless through eight innings while striking out eight in a 5-0 win.
ATHLETICS VS. LACKEY
Mark Ellis (71 plate appearances): .267 BA/.371 OBP/.400 SLG, eight doubles, five RBI, eight walks, 10 strikeouts
Hideki Matsui (55): .240/.291/.400, one home run, five doubles, nine RBI, four walks, six strikeouts
Coco Crisp (32): .167/.219/.367, tww home runs, two RBI, two walks, three strikeouts
Kurt Suzuki (32): .194/.188/.419, one home run, two doubles, one triple, three RBI, five strikeouts
Daric Barton (28): .308/.357/.557, one home run, four doubles, three RBI, two walks
David DeJesus (24): .273/.273/.273, two RBI, three walks
Ryan Sweeney (19): .333/.368/.389, one double, one RBI, one walk, three strikeouts
Cliff Pennington (15): .071/.133/.071, two strikeouts
Kevin Kouzmanoff (5): 3-for-5, one double, one strikeouts
Landon Powell (3): 1-for-3, one strikeout
Josh Willingham (3): 0-for-3, one strikeout
No other player on the A’s roster has faced Lackey.
RED SOX VS. ANDERSON
Kevin Youkilis (14 plate appearances): .154 BA/.214 OBP/.154 SLG, one walk, six strikeouts
Jarrod Saltalamacchia (13): .077/.077/.077, two strikeouts
Dustin Pedroia (11): .100/.182/.100, one walk, one strikeouts
Carl Crawford (10): .200/.200/.200, two strikeouts
Jacoby Ellsbury (10): .000/.100/.000, one walk, one strikeout
David Ortiz (10): .100/.100/.100, two strikeouts
Jed Lowrie (9): .222./.222/.333, one double, two strikeouts
Jason Varitek (6): 0-for-5, one walk, one strikeout
Adrian Gonzalez (5): 1-for-5, two strikeouts
Mike Cameron (3): 0-for-3, two strikeouts
J.D. Drew (3): 0-for-3, three strikeouts
No other player on the Red Sox roster has faced Anderson.
|Closing Time: Athletics 5, Red Sox 0||09.11.10 at 2:22 am ET|
Good bye, Cy.
The idea that Clay Buchholz might be able to thrust himself into contention for the Cy Young Award was already a longshot. Though he entered Friday with a 15-6 record and an American League-leading 2.25 ERA, the fact that Buchholz had thrown just 151 2/3 innings — more than 60 fewer than Felix Hernandez, and more than 50 fewer than CC Sabathia — suggested that Buchholz would need a remarkable final few starts to have a legitimate shot at pitching’s most prestigious honor.
Any improbable visions were dispelled on Friday night, however, as Buchholz delivered his worst start of the year, and indeed one of the worst of his career. He had little on the mound, failing to record a single out in the second inning while getting shelled for five runs on five hits and four walks. It was the shortest start of his career that did not involve an injury.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
–Buchholz had been the team’s most consistent performer this year, having allowed two or fewer earned runs in a remarkable 17 of his 24 starts. But Oakland has been his undoing this year, posting two of the three contests in which Buchholz a) failed to record five or more innings and b) allowed five earned runs. For the season, Buchholz now has an 18.00 ERA against Oakland, and a 2.01 ERA against the rest of the majors.
–The Sox suffered their first shutout since June 9, ending a streak of 79 straight games in which they’d scored at least one run, the longest such streak in the majors this year.
–Coco Crisp put on a show for the A’s against his former team. He robbed Ryan Kalish — batting leadoff — of a homer to lead off the game in the top of the first inning, and went 3-for-3 with three steals and a walk.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
–The Boston bullpen turned in an impressive night to prevent the game from getting out of hand after Buchholz’ departure. Dustin Richardson, who had allowed all five batters he’d faced over his previous three appearances to reach base (four walks and a single), elicited a double play grounder after inheriting a first-and-second, no-out situation in the second, allowing him to avoid any further damage. He produced a pair of shutout innings, the longest relief outing of his career. He was followed into the game by Michael Bowden (two shutout innings), Robert Coello (two shutout innings) and Robert Manuel (shutout inning).
–Ryan Kalish, in addition to nearly hitting a homer to lead off the game before it was pulled back by Crisp, also once again demonstrated his strong arm, cutting down Crisp at third with a strong throw on a fly out to center.
–Josh Reddick continued his impressive run, as his double improved him to 5-for-10 since his call-up earlier in the week, a continuation of his scorching conclusion of the season with Triple-A Pawtucket.
–Lars Anderson, playing his first big league game in the ballpark where he grew up attending games, drew his first career walk. For more on Anderson’s homecoming, click here.
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