(Video) Mike Napoli calls Masahiro Tanaka an “idiot” after go-ahead HR

In another Red Sox news update surrounding the intense rivalry that is Red Sox/Yankees, Mike Napoli had a not-so-glowing review of Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka’s pitch selection on Napoli’s go-ahead ninth inning home run in Saturday’s 2-1 Boston victory.

Coming a little too close to the FOX Sports cameras while celebrating his handy work, Napoli was heard exclaiming “What an idiot!” about Tanaka’s ill-fated fastball.

Napoli later clarified his statement, expressing confusion over why Tanaka threw him a fastball instead of his almost-unhittable splitter.

Well…add this one as fuel to the fire surrounding these two bitter rivals.

 

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Red Sox News: Top prospect Mookie Betts called up to Boston

In today’s Red Sox news update, the future is now for Boston Red Sox fans as celebrated outfield prospect Mookie Betts was called up to the Majors on Saturday afternoon.

According to Ian Browne of MLB.com, Red Sox manager John Farrell and GM Ben Cherington assert that Betts’ promotion has little to do with the team’s current struggles and more to do with Betts’ performance in the minor leagues.

“Really, it was mostly about Mookie,” said Cherington, via Browne’s article on Saturday. “When a guy is performing at the level and doing it the way he’s doing it and controlling the strike zone and performing in all different areas of the game, that kind of guy deserves consideration. We happen to have a need for as many good players as we can get, particularly guys that can move around positions, cover different spots. We talked about it for probably two or three days and just decided it was the right time.”

For Betts, the “right time” happens to land smack dab in the middle of Boston’s current visit to the enemy territory that is Yankee Stadium. While Betts was not in the starting lineup for Saturday’s contest, he will be for Sunday night’s clash.

“Last night, I was in my hotel room, me and my fiancé had just ordered pizza and were going to go into the hotel, then [Triple-A Pawtucket manager Kevin Boles] called me and told me to come back to the field, told me he had something to tell me,” Betts stated.

“He didn’t want to do it over the phone. Once I got there, he let me know, and the rest is history.”

 

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Boston Red Sox vs. Seattle Mariners Series Preview

The Boston Red Sox continue their West Coast swing on Monday, as they do battle with the Seattle Mariners in the opening contest of a three-game series.

Boston’s roller-coaster 2014 campaign hit a downturn with a series loss in Oakland this weekend. However, in a season where 85 victories can win an AL Wild Card, the Red Sox are far from out of it.

The Mariners find themselves just percentage points behind the Baltimore Orioles for the AL’s second Wild Card after winning six of their last eight.

Snapshot:

Home: Seattle Mariners (40-36, 17-20 home)

Away: Boston Red Sox (35-41, 15-22 away)

Key Stat:

Don’t count the Mariners as lucky to be four games over .500 so close to the mid-point of the season. Despite two one-run victories this weekend, the team is just 8-12 in games decided by the slimmest of margins.

In fact, per ESPN, they are underperforming compared to an expected 43-33 record.

Red Sox Notes:

Red Sox reliever Burke Badenhop’s run at history came to an abrupt halt on Sunday in Oakland.

Per Eric Gilmore of ESPN Boston, Badenhop had thrown a career-best 18 scoreless innings in 17 outings leading up to Sunday. He also was riding a streak of 32.1 consecutive innings without an earned run, trailing only Koji Uehara (33.2 innings in 2013) and Dick Radatz (33 innings in 1963) for the Red Sox record.

However, with the Red Sox leading 6-1 in the bottom of the eighth, Badenhop gave up back-to-back-to-back RBI singles to Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Donaldson, and Derek Norris – ending both the scoreless and the earned run streaks before Badenhop was pulled without retiring a batter.

No matter. Even though the A’s tied the game off of Koji Uehara in the ninth, a David Ortiz 10th inning home run might have started a more important streak for the Red Sox – a winning streak, as Boston salvaged a game of their four-game set with Oakland by a final count of 7-6.

Mariners Notes:

Just a few days ago, the Kansas City Royals were America’s darlings – winning ten straight to move up to the top of the AL Central standings.

Then, the Seattle Mariners happened.

Although the M’s only outscored the Royals by a count of 11-7 at Kaufman Stadium over the weekend, they put together three-straight clutch victories with each game decided by two runs or less.

Saturday and Sunday were especially impressive, as the Mariners’ pitching staff held the Royals to just two runs over those last two victories – vaulting the Mariners to a season-high four games over .500.

What to Watch For:

Monday night gives us one of the best pitching matchups of the week, as Seattle’s Felix Hernandez (8-2, 2.22) faces off with Boston’s John Lackey (8-4, 2.96).

Lackey is coming off a nine-inning masterpiece against the Twins on Wednesday where he allowed no earned runs and just three hits, walking one and striking out nine in a 2-1 Red Sox victory.

Hernandez, on the other hand, has been absolutely brilliant all June long. He has 1.23 ERA on the month, giving up just 19 hits in 29.1 innings while posting a ridiculous 13/1 K/BB ratio (39 Ks, 3BBs).

What They’re Saying About the Red Sox:

Ortiz, Pedroia need help in All-Star Game vote (Boston Dirt Dogs)

Buchholz plans on being less predictable (Official Site of the Red Sox)

What They’re Saying About the Mariners:

McClendon not totally sold on defensive shifts (Official Site of the Mariners)

Elias, Zunino lead Mariners to sweep over Royals (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

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Red Sox News: Mookie Betts to be called up soon?

In today’s Red Sox news update, the Boston Red Sox might soon be looking to call up one of the most prized and popular players in their farm system, center fielder Mookie Betts.

According to Ricky Doyle of NESN.com, when asked about the progress of veteran outfielder Andres Torres, who inked a minor league contract with the club last week, manager John Farrell had little to say. However, he did have something to say about the 21-year-old wunderkind, Mookie Betts.

“I know Mookie Betts is swinging the bat well,” Farrell said smiling, via Doyle’s article. “Not to create any (stir).”

However, mired in a strenuous ten-game road trip which seems to be ending rather poorly in Oakland, mentioning a player whose ascent through the team’s farm system has been both legendary and goosebump-inducing is always cause for some eyebrows to raise.

“I’m not suggesting anything other than we recognize and watch what he’s doing daily,” Farrell stated. “I don’t know (when he’ll be ready for the majors). The fact that he’s in Triple-A, he’s clearly on the radar. And the fact that he continues to swing the bat with some consistency … He’s doing everything he can though to put himself on that track.”

Betts is currently hitting .324 with two home runs, 12 RBIs, a .403 on base percentage, and four stolen bases in 17 games since being promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket.

If he continues to rake in Pawtucket, it could be a matter of weeks or even days before he finds himself in The Show.

 

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Red Sox News: Joe Torre wants David Ortiz to show more respect

In today’s Red Sox news update, Major League Baseball executive vice president Joe Torre is looking for Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz to show more respect in light of Ortiz blasting an official scorer after Wednesday’s 2-1 victory over the Twins at Fenway Park.

Per Mark Townsend of Yahoo! Sports, Torre released a statement on Friday both defending the official scorer and taking Ortiz to task for his comments:

“Official scorers have a job to do, and by their very nature, their decisions don’t make everyone happy. But everyone in our game deserves respect. I hope that David will meet that standard going forward, because I don’t share the same views that he expressed.

 

“Official scorers should never give any benefit of the doubt to the home team. We want their best judgment, based on the rules. We have a process to review the decisions that our scorers make. Even when there are inevitable disagreements, we expect everybody to act professionally and respect the game and the integrity of our scorers.”

The situation in question happened in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s contest. Per Yahoo’s Townsend, “despite hitting a game-tying home in the 10th inning of Boston’s thrilling 2-1 victory, Ortiz couldn’t focus on anything other than the official scorer charging Minnesota first baseman Joe Mauer with an error on a difficult fielding chance rather than crediting Ortiz with a hit in the seventh inning.”

Ortiz made his displeasure abundantly clear after the game, via the Boston Globe:

What is he watching?” Ortiz said afterward. “He’s not watching the same ballgame that everybody’s watching, I guess.”

What is he watching?” Ortiz said afterward. “He’s not watching the same ballgame that everybody’s watching, I guess.”

“People are supposed to have your back at home, and it never happens,” said Ortiz. “It’s always like that. I’ve been here more than a decade and the scorekeepers here are always horrible. This is home, man.”

 

Ortiz has yet to comment on Torre’s statement, but needless to say, his retort will most likely be interesting to say the least.

Per ESPN.com, Ortiz felt quite justified in voicing his complaint – especially in light of his .188 average in June.

“I’ve got to make it clear,” Ortiz said Wednesday. “It’s not my first rodeo, man. You know how hard it is to get a hit, man?”

 

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Boston Red Sox vs. Oakland Athletics Series Preview

The defending World Series champions head west to face one of the favorites to win it all this year, as the Boston Red Sox visit the Oakland Athletics for a four-game series starting Thursday.

The Red Sox seem to be finally putting it all together, winning five of their last seven to move within four games of the second AL Wild Card.

Oakland, on the other hand, has been clicking all season long – currently holding the best record in all of baseball with the All-Star break less than a month away.

Snapshot:

Home: Oakland Athletics (44-28, 21-14 home)

Away: Boston Red Sox (34-38, 14-19 away)

Key Stat:

Boston pitchers allowed just 13 runs on their recently-completed seven-game homestand – leading the team to a 5-2 record along with rekindling the team’s chances in a muddled AL Wild Card chase.

Red Sox Notes:

Momentum, even that of the season-altering variety, can get started in the blink of an eye – usually when a team least expects it.

After Twins outfielder Chris Parmalee homered in the 10th inning on Wednesday afternoon, accounting for the first run off Boston closer Koji Uehara in his past 21 innings of work, the Red Sox were on the edge of a humbling one-hit, 1-0 loss.

However, just like that, back-to-back home runs in the bottom half from David Ortiz and Mike Napoli off of Twins reliever Casey Fien turned a frustrating day into a big one for Boston.

With the win, the Red Sox completed a series sweep of Minnesota – sending Boston off on a critical ten-game road swing with a chance at doing some major damage in the AL standings along the way.

A’s Notes:

It may still be a while yet until Wham’s “Careless Whisper” once again takes over the loudspeakers (and the right field bleachers) at O.co Coliseum.

After landing on the disabled list for most of the month with a hyperextended right knee, A’s right fielder Josh Reddick begins his rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento on Wednesday night.

However, the A’s won’t bring Reddick back until they feel close to 100% assured that he will have no ill effects from either the injury or the time off.

“After four days, we’ll see where he’s at,” said manager Bob Melvin, via Jane Lee of MLB.com. “We want him to come back swinging the bat well, and he knows that.”

Four days of rehab would most likely place Reddick’s earliest return date around Tuesday’s road trip opener in New York against the Mets – meaning it is almost assured that Reddick’s next game at the Coliseum won’t be until 4th of July weekend against the Blue Jays.

What to Watch For:

Coming off a solid no-decision in a 3-2 Boston loss to the Indians at Fenway on Saturday,  Jake Peavy (1-4, 4.53) looks to make it two quality outings in a row as he opposes Oakland’s Scott Kazmir (8-2, 2.05) in Thursday’s series opener.

Peavy gave up just one earned run on seven hits against Cleveland – marking the first time in seven starts (May 1st vs. Tampa Bay) that the Red Sox right-hander has given up less than three earned runs.

In contrast, Scott Kazmir has given two earned runs or less in nine of his fourteen outings this season – placing his name at the top of the early list of AL Cy Young candidates.

What They’re Saying About the Red Sox:

Between a Brock and a hard place (Boston Dirt Dogs)

Brandon Workman’s six-game suspension upheld (Over the Monster)

What They’re Saying About the Athletics:

Slumping Donaldson gets “change of scenery” in lineup (MyNorthwest.com)

Oakland not ready to seal A’s lease deal (San Jose Mercury News)

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Cleveland Indians vs. Boston Red Sox Series Preview

The 2013 World Series champion Boston Red Sox will be looking for revenge against the Cleveland Indians in a four-game set at Fenway starting on Thursday. The Indians swept the last three-game series between the two clubs, outlasting the Red Sox in three straight nail-biters between the two perennial AL playoff contenders.

The Red Sox come into the series on the edge of panic mode, 9 games behind the AL East-leading Toronto Blue Jays and seven games below .500.

The Cleveland Indians remain prime contenders for an AL Wild Card spot (2 GB) and the AL Central crown (3 GB), and will be looking to put a dismal 12-22 start to their 2014 road schedule behind them in this four-game trip to New England.

Snapshot:

Home: Boston Red Sox (29-36, 15-18 home)

Away: Cleveland Indians (33-33, 12-22 away)

Key Stat:

Boston’s Dustin Pedroia is hitting just .214 with runners in scoring position, and is currently sporting a .714 OPS – 100 points less than his career average.

Indians Outlook:

The Indians may look back at their last series against Boston as the place where their season finally turned around for the better.

Going into the series at 27-30, the Tribe took three straight from the Red Sox at Progressive Field to climb back to the .500 mark – a position which instantly made them playoff contenders in a very mediocre AL Wild Card field.

The Indians have gone 3-3 since, but if they can provide a repeat performance of their last series against the Red Sox in this visit to Fenway, the Indians could climb up yet another rung on the AL playoff ladder.

Red Sox Outlook:

In order for the Boston Red Sox to ascend back to the top of the MLB mountain, they will have to figure out the formula to get back to playing consistent baseball in all facets of the game – and quickly.

After a red flag-raising ten game losing streak in mid-May, the Sox looked to have righted the ship with a seven-game winning streak which brought them back within two games of .500.

Since then? They’ve lost seven of their last nine, alternating between a dead offense (they’ve scored three runs or less in six of those contests) and untimely bullpen implosions which leave more questions than answers for the world champions with the middle of June approaching.

What to Watch For:

Staff aces lock horns in a Friday night showdown, as John Lackey (7-4, 3.18) takes the mound against resurgent Cleveland right-hander Justin Masterson (4-4, 4.61).

After a very tough start to the 2014 season, Masterson has given up just two earned runs and eight hits in his last two starts (12.2 IP), including a seven-inning gem of a victory over the Red Sox on June 2nd.

On the other hand, Lackey has been as consistent as can be for the Sox – producing quality starts in 10 of his 13 outings so far this year.

 

What They’re Saying About the Indians:

Swisher feels good after his first rehab game (Official Site of the Indians)

Lonnie Chisenhall and the greatest Wikipedia edit ever (Chat Sports)

What They’re Saying About the Red Sox:

Sox sign veteran outfielder Torres (Camden Chat)

Should the Red Sox be concerned about Dustin Pedroia? (Bo Sox Injection)

 

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Boston Red Sox – Baltimore Orioles Series Preview

The Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles face off in a three-game AL East matchup starting Monday night, and both teams will look to gain some ground on the division-leading Toronto Blue Jays.

Boston comes in as the streakiest team in baseball – before Sunday’s win over Detroit, they had lost five in a row, and before that they had won seven…on the heels of a 10-game losing streak.

Baltimore will try to put an embarrassing series loss at the hands of the Oakland A’s behind them, and they’ll know that 3B Manny Machado could be headed for a suspension – his antics led to two bench-clearing altercations against the A’s, and he’ll no doubt be on a much shorter leash in this series…if he’s around at all.

Snapshot:

Home: Baltimore Orioles (31-30, 12-14 home)

Away: Boston Red Sox (28-34, 13-17 away)

Key Stat:

Dustin Pedroia is riding a 12-game hitting streak against the Orioles…and he’s hit .472 over those 12.

Orioles Outlook:

Baltimore needs to quickly put their series against the A’s in the rear-view mirror. Nick Markakis, Adam Jones and Nelson Cruz will need to be on point, since the Orioles won’t be able to count on having Manny Machado around.

Baltimore’s pitching will also need to improve, but their rotation matches up fairly well in this series – Bud Norris and Chris Tillman – who pitch Monday and Tuesday – have been hit or miss, but Wei-Yin Chen, who pitches the series finale, has excelled recently.

The Orioles also need to figure out what to do about the now-vacant closer role – Grant Balfour clearly isn’t the man for the job right now, and until he gets his head straight (or the team finds a clear upgrade), the Orioles will be vulnerable at the end of games

Red Sox Outlook:

No team in baseball alternates between hot and cold like the Red Sox, but recent history is in their favor – if the past month has been any indication, Boston does well when rebounding from a losing streak.

Boston’s success in this series will come down to their pitching – Jake Peavy has struggled, Brandon Workman is still relatively untested, and Rubby De La Rosa is scheduled to start just his Major League game on Wednesday.

What to Watch for:

After facing two of baseball’s best pitching staffs in Oakland and Detroit, both teams will look to rebound on offense against less dominant starters. Baltimore has a clear edge when it comes to pitching, and Boston will need to hope David Ortiz’s three-run, ninth-inning HR against the Tigers on Sunday can breathe some life into their offense.

On paper, it looks like the Orioles should walk away with this one thanks to Boston’s inconsistency…but Baltimore showed signs of fraying at the seams against Oakland on both offense and defense, and manager Buck Showalter will need to make sure the team stays focused and professional. With Grant Balfour out of the closer’s role, the Orioles also need to make sure they have a way to protect leads once they establish them.

With both teams looking up at the streaking Blue Jays, this series is a great chance for one team to make a statement of intent in the AL East.

What They’re Saying About the Orioles:

Matt Wieters still experiencing elbow discomfort, will see Dr. Andrews again (Baltimore Sun)

Rays Remove Grant Balfour From Closer’s Role (Baltimore Sports Report)

What They’re Saying About the Red Sox:

The Grady Sizemore experiment is coming to a close (BoSox Injection)

Game 63 Lineups: Holt Back in Left; Sizemore Starts in Center (Boston.com)

 


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Trending Red Sox News: Brandon Workman appeals six-game suspension

In today’s Red Sox news update, Boston Red Sox pitcher Brandon Workman formally appealed a six-game suspension levied on him by Major League Baseball after throwing a pitch near the head of Tampa Bay Rays star Evan Longoria last week.

Per the AP report, Workman will be allowed to continue to pitch until his case is heard – including starting for the Sox against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night.

Workman’s suspension also came with a fine, and was announced by MLB Senior Vice President Joe Garagiola Jr.

The high pitch occured on Friday night, after the Rays and Red Sox had been warned to refrain from further incriminatory actions, when both David Ortiz (in the first) and Mike Carp (in the fourth) were plunked by Rays starter David Price.

“That was ascertained in the video. Thus, I think that’s appropriate,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said about the suspension matching the intent and timing of the pitch before Tuesday night’s game at Miami.

 

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Red Sox News and Notes: Mike Napoli expected to return this weekend

In today’s Red Sox news update, Mike Napoli may not have to deal with any rehab assignments after his stint on the disabled list with what has been termed as numerous injuries.

Per Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com, “the Sox expect him to return to the lineup Sunday night in Comerica Park against the Detroit Tigers.”

Manager John Farrell is optimistic about this prognosis.

“Everything projects to Sunday,” said the Red Sox skipper. “He’s doing all baseball activities, with no restrictions. The ailments he was dealing with — the calf, the foot, those type of things — have cleared up and the swelling in the finger has gone down. I know he’s chomping at the bit to get back into the lineup right now.”

“Everything points to him being active on Sunday (without a rehab stint),” he added.

Adding Napoli back to the mix will be another feather in the caps of the streaking Red Sox – who entered Monday’s contest with the Cleveland Indians riding a seven-game winning streak.

 

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