Brayan Bello runs into sixth-inning trouble as Red Sox drop opener to Orioles, 3-2

The Red Sox were unable to put end to their three-game losing streak with a series-opening win over the Orioles on Friday night. Boston fell to Baltimore by a final score of 3-2 at Camden Yards to drop to 67-72 on the season.

Matched up against O’s starter Austin Voth to begin things on Friday, the Sox left a runner on base in each of the first two innings before getting on the board in the third.

Connor Wong led off with a hard-hit double and it seemed as though Boston was about to squander another scoring chance after Tommy Pham struck out and Alex Verdugo lined out. But Xander Bogaerts kept the inning alive by cranking a two-run home run 379 over the shallow fence in right field.

Bogaerts’ 13th home run of the season gave the Red Sox an early 2-0 lead. Brayan Bello, meanwhile, was in the midst of his seventh start of the year for Boston.

The rookie right-hander wound up allowing three earned runs on three hits and four walks to go along with seven strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings of work, though he pitched better than that line indicates.

Thanks to some poor baserunning decisions from Cedric Mullins, Bello faced the minimum without giving up a run through his first four frames. After walking a pair in a scoreless bottom of the fifth, Bello ran into more substantial trouble in the sixth.

Mullins was at the root of it, as he reached base via a one-out single. Bello then issued back-to-back walks to Adley Rutschman and Anthony Santander to load the bases. That prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora to emerge from the visitor’s dugout and give Bello the hook in favor of fellow righty Kaleb Ort.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 87 (49 strikes), Bello induced a total of 17 swings-and-misses while mixing in 30 four-seam fastballs, 22 changeups, 21 sliders, and 14 sinkers. The 23-year-old hurler averaged 96.4 mph with his four-seamer. He was charged with his fifth loss of the season as his ERA rose to 5.79.

Ort officially closed the book on Bello’s night, but not in a good way. He allowed all three runners he inherited to score on a wild pitch and a two-run single off the bat of Gunnar Henderson. Ort got through the rest of the sixth unscathed, though the damage had already been done.

Going from a two-run lead to a one-run deficit, the Sox threatened to score in their half of the seventh. After Verdugo drew a two-out walk and advanced to second base on a Bogaerts single, the potential tying run was just 180 feet away for Rafael Devers. Devers, however, could not come through against Orioles reliever Cionel Perez, as he popped out to shallow left field.

Following a scoreless bottom of the seventh from Zack Kelly, J.D. Martinez reached base in the eighth on a out-single. Rob Refsnyder pinch-ran for Martinez and moved up to second on a Triston Casas groundout. He then advanced to third after Enrique Hernandez reached on a fielding error. But Dillon Tate, who committed the error, got the pinch-hitting Reese McGuire to strike out swinging to strand Refsnyder at third base.

Matt Barnes put up another zero in the eighth to keep the deficit at one going into the ninth. Verdugo got the tying run on base by beating out a one-out infield single. Bogaerts then grounded into a routine 6-4-3 double play to end it.

With the loss, the Red Sox are now 5-8 against the Orioles and 18-40 against divisional opponents on the season. They went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Friday and left 10 runners on base as a team.

Martinez’s milestone

With his second-inning single, J.D. Martinez recorded the 1,500th hit of his big-league career. Martinez, who went 2-for-3 with a walk on Friday, currently ranks 22nd among the active major-league leaders in hits.

Next up: Wacha vs. Lyles

The Red Sox will look to put an end to their four-game losing streak on Saturday. Veteran right-hander Michael Wacha is slated to start for Boston while fellow righty Jordan Lyles is expected to do the same for Orioles.

First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Brayan Bello: Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Brayan Bello runs out of gas in fifth inning as Red Sox drop opener to Twins, 4-2

The Red Sox opened a three-game series against the Twins on Monday by losing their second straight game. Boston fell to Minnesota by a final score of 4-2 at Target Field to drop to 62-67 on the season.

Matched up against Dylan Bunday to begin things on Monday, the Sox got on the board first in their half of the third inning. Tommy Pham reached base via a one-out single and promptly scored all the way from first on an Alex Verdugo RBI double that traveled 341 feet to left field.

Verdugo moved up to third on a Xander Bogaerts single and had the chance to tag up when Rafael Devers lined out to Max Kepler in right field. But he remained at third base and was stranded there after J.D. Martinez struck out swinging.

An inning later, Trevor Story drew a leadoff walk off Bundy and quickly went from first to third on a Franchy Cordero single that had an exit velocity of 112.7 mph. Cordero, like Story, moved up to third on another one-out double from Reese McGuire. But Pham grounded out Verdugo punched out, meaning the Sox would have to settle for one run yet again.

That would prove to be costly for Brayan Bello, who was making his fifth start and seventh overall appearance of the season for Boston. The rookie right-hander pitched well out of the gate, tossing three consecutive scoreless frames before running into some trouble in the latter half of the fourth.

Bello put himself in a tough spot when he allowed each of the first three batters he faced in the inning to reach base. He then gave up a sacrifice fly to Jake Cave, but managed to limit the damage in the fourth to just the one run despite throwing 29 pitches.

The same cannot be said about the fifth inning. After the Sox left runners on the corners in the top half, Bello issued back-to-back walks to begin the bottom half. That prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora to give Bello the hook in favor of Matt Strahm.

Strahm, in turn, got Kepler to ground out to McGuire before yielding a bases-filling walk to Jose Miranda and striking out the pinch-hitting Kyle Garlick on six pitches. With the right-handed hitting Gio Urshela due to hit next for Minnesota, Cora swapped Strahm for John Schreiber.

Urshela won the righty-on-righty battle, as he connected on a 3-2, 83.1 mph slider from Schreiber and roped a bases-clearing, three-run double to the right field corner. That gave the Twins their first lead of the night at 4-2 and that is where the score would stay.

Bello was charged with three of those runs while Strahm was tagged for one. For Bello, the 23-year-old wound up allowing three earned runs on five hits, three walks, and two strikeouts over four-plus innings of work. He threw 84 pitches (51 strikes) in the process of raising his ERA on the season to 7.27. The Red Sox have yet to win a game he has pitched in.

Following that disastrous fifth inning, the Twins bullpen took over by limiting Red Sox hitters to one hit — a single — over the final 4 1/3 frames of Monday’s loss.

On the flip side, the two relievers Boston called up to take the place of Austin Davis and Hirokazu Sawamura pitched relatively well. Zack Kelly and Kaleb Ort have grown accustomed to following one another out of the bullpen in Worcester. On Monday, they got to experience that for the first time at the major-league level.

Kelly, making his big-league debut, needed just 18 pitches (10 strikes) to face the minimum in a scoreless sixth inning. The 27-year-old struck out the first two batters he faced before giving up a two-out single to Luis Arraez. But that was quicky negated after Arraez was gunned down at second base by McGuire.

Ort, meanwhile, scattered two walks and two strikeouts over two scoreless innings of work to keep the deficit at two runs. It proved to be for naught, though, as Twins closer Jorge Lopez made quick work of the Sox in the ninth to end it.

All told, the Red Sox went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners on base as a team. At 62-67, they now sit eight games back of the Blue Jays for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Crawford vs. Archer

The Red Sox will look to bounce back against the Twins on Tuesday night. Kutter Crawford is expected to start for Boston while fellow right-hander Chris Archer is slated to do the same for Minnesota.

First pitch from Target Field is scheduled for 7:40 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Brayan Bello: David Berding/Getty Images)

Red Sox promote Zack Kelly, Kaleb Ort from Triple-A Worcester; Austin Davis, Hirokazu Sawamura designated for assignment

UPDATE: This is now official. The Red Sox have called up Kelly and Ort from Triple-A Worcester and have designated Davis and Sawamura for assignment, the club announced before Monday’s series opener against the Twins.

Kelly will wear the No. 76, becoming just the fourth player in franchise history to do so and the first since Hector Velazquez donned the number from 2017-2019.

After designating Austin Davis and Hirokazu Sawamura for assignment on Sunday, the Red Sox are expected to call up right-handers Zack Kelly and Kaleb Ort from Triple-A Worcester, according to multiple reports.

Kelly and Ort will join the Red Sox and their new-look bullpen in Minnesota ahead of Monday’s series opener against the Twins at Target Field. The former will need to be added to Boston’s 40-man roster while the latter is already on it.

When Kelly gets into a game, it will mark his major-league debut. The 27-year-old has spent the last two seasons in the Red Sox organization after originally signing a minor-league deal with the club last January. Prior to that, Kelly had gone undrafted out of Division II Newberry College (Newberry, S.C.) and signed with the Athletics for just $500 in January 2017.

After splitting time between the Athletics and Angels organizations, Kelly suffered an elbow injury in the spring of 2020 that would ultimately require surgery. He was released by Los Angeles that May in the midst of the COVID-19 shutdown.

Since then, however, Kelly has only seen his stock rise. The native Virginian posted a 2.18 ERA over 36 appearances (45 1/3 innings) between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester last year and leveraged that performance into his first-ever invite to big-league spring training after re-signing with the Red Sox in November.

With the WooSox this season, Kelly has pitched to a stellar 2.72 ERA and 2.81 FIP to go along with 72 strikeouts to 25 walks over 44 relief appearances spanning 49 2/3 innings of work. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound hurler operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a high-90s fastball, a low-80s changeup, and a high-80s cutter.

Ort, who debuted for Boston last September, has produced a 9.00 ERA and 4.06 FIP with 13 strikeouts and seven walks across 12 outings (15 innings) at the major-league level this season. The Red Sox originally acquired the 30-year-old from the Yankees in the minor-league phase of the 2020 Rule 5 Draft.

Frequently pitching behind Kelly in Worcester, Ort owns a 2.88 ERA (2.68 FIP) in 39 appearances for the WooSox this year. He has put up those numbers while converting 16 of a possible 18 save opportunities.

When Davis and Sawamura are officially designated for assignment and Kelly and Ort are officially called up, the Red Sox will have 26 players on their 26-man roster and 39 players on their 40-man roster. At this point in time, it is not yet known how they will use that open spot.

(Picture of Zack Kelly: Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images)

Red Sox designate Hirokazu Sawamura for assignment, per report

In addition to Austin Davis, the Red Sox are also designating right-hander Hirokazu Sawamura for assignment, according to The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham.

Sawamura, like Davis, pitched in relief of Nick Pivetta in Sunday’s 12-4 loss to the Rays at Fenway Park. The 34-year-old hurler was tagged for three runs on four hits, two walks, and one strikeout on 37 pitches (22 strikeouts) in a rough sixth inning.

On the 2022 season as a whole, Sawamura has posted a 3.73 ERA and 4.17 FIP with 40 strikeouts to 27 walks over 49 appearances spanning 50 2/3 innings of work for Boston. That includes an underwhelming 6.46 ERA since the All-Star break.

The Red Sox originally signed Sawamura out of Japan last February. After spending the previous 10 seasons with the Yomiuri Giants and Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball, the Tochigi native inked a two-year. $3 million deal with Boston that included a dual player/club option as well as a buyout for the 2023 season.

Since then, Sawamura has pitched to a 3.39 ERA and 1.44 WHIP to go along with 101 strikeouts and 59 walks across 104 relief outings (103 2/3 innings) at the big-league level.

Boston will have the next seven days to either place Sawamura on outright waivers or release waivers. If he goes unclaimed, the Red Sox would remain on the hook for the remainder of Sawamura’s salary this season, plus the buyout for 2023 that is now valued at $1 million.

By designating both Davis and Sawamura for assignment, the Sox have created two vacancies in their bullpen heading into Monday’s series opener against the Twins in Minnesota. They are expected to fill those holes by calling up right-handers Kaleb Ort and Zack Kelly from Triple-A Worcester.

(Picture of Hirokazu Sawamura: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox select Jeurys Familia from Triple-A Worcester, option Kaleb Ort; Chris Sale transferred to 60-day injured list

Before taking on the Yankees at Fenway Park on Saturday night, the Red Sox selected the contract of veteran reliever Jeurys Familia from Triple-A Worcester.

In order to make room for Familia on the 26-man roster, fellow reliever Kaleb Ort was optioned to Worcester following Friday night’s 3-2 win over New York. In order to make room for Familia on the 40-man roster, left-hander Chris Sale was transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day injured list, the club announced.

Familia, 32, signed a minor-league deal with the Red Sox last Tuesday after being designated for assignment and subsequently released by the Phillies earlier this month. The Dominican-born right-hander had joined Philadelphia on a one-year pact back in March but struggled to the tune of a 6.09 ERA and 4.88 FIP with 33 strikeouts to 15 walks over 38 appearances spanning 34 innings of work.

In his lone outing with the WooSox in Moosic, Pa. this past Thursday, Familia struck out the side on 13 pitches (10 strikes) against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. He works with a sinker, a four-seamer, a slider, and a splitter.

A veteran of 11 big-league seasons, Familia initially broke in with the Mets in 2012 and emerged as New York’s closer in 2015. He recorded a league-leading 51 saves in 2016 while being named an All-Star for the first time and finishing 17th in National League MVP voting.

Between the Mets, Athletics, and Phillies, Familia owns a 3.46 ERA (3.53 FIP) across 532 2/3 total innings at the major-league level. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound hurler will wear the No. 31 with the Red Sox.

Ort, meanwhile, just wrapped up his second stint of the season with Boston. The 30-year-old has pitched to a 9.00 ERA — but a much more respectable 4.05 FIP — to go along with 13 strikeouts to seven walks over 12 appearances (15 innings) with the big-league club so far in 2022.

Sale, on the other hand, saw his 2022 season come to an end last weekend after undergoing surgery to repair a broken right wrist that came as a result of a bicycle accident. The 33-year-old southpaw was already on the 15-day injured list due to a left fifth finger fracture, so he will no longer occupy a spot on Boston’s 40-man roster.

Following Saturday’s series of moves, the Red Sox’ 26-man and 40-man rosters are both currently at full capacity.

(Picture of Jeurys Familia: Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Red Sox select Kaleb Ort from Triple-A Worcester, designate Michael Feliz for assignment

The Red Sox have selected the contract of right-handed reliever Kaleb Ort from Triple-A Worcester. In a corresponding move, fellow right-hander Michael Feliz has been designated for assignment, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

Ort is expected to be activated ahead of Saturday’s game against the Yankees at Fenway Park. The 30-year-old made his major-league debut for Boston last September, appearing in one game as a COVID-related substitute while the club was in Seattle.

Originally acquired from the Yankees in the minor-league phase of the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, Ort has spent the vast majority of the last two seasons with the WooSox. This year alone, the Michigan-born righty has posted a 3.12 ERA and 2.62 FIP with 47 strikeouts to 16 walks over 33 relief appearances spanning 34 2/3 innings of work.

Undrafted out of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Ort initially signed with the Diamondbacks out of independent ball in 2016 but was released the following spring. He then latched on with the Yankees in May 2017 and spent the next three-plus years in the organization before getting scooped up by the Red Sox in December 2020.

Listed at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, Ort may not be much of a prospect at this point, but he has still proven to be an effective weapon out of Worcester’s bullpen the last two seasons thanks to a two-pitch mix that consists of a high-90s fastball and whiff-inducing slider.

Feliz, meanwhile, was added to Boston’s 40-man roster on Thursday and made his 2022 debut in Friday’s 12-5 loss to the Yankees. The 29-year-old relieved starter Connor Seabold and allowed two runs (one earned) on one hit, two walks, and four strikeouts over 3 1/3 innings. Thirty-four of the 57 pitches he threw went for strikes.

The Sox will now have the next seven days to either trade, release, or waive Feliz, who has accrued enough service time to reject an outright assignment to the minor-leagues in favor of free agency.

(Picture of Kaleb Ort: Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Red Sox activate Martín Pérez from COVID-19 related injured list, return Kaleb Ort to Triple-A Worcester

As expected, the Red Sox have reinstated left-hander Martin Perez from the COVID-19 related injured list. In a corresponding move, right-hander Kaleb Ort was returned to Triple-A Worcester, the team announced earlier Tuesday evening.

Perez had been held out of action for a little more than two weeks after initially testing positive for COVID-19 while the Sox were in Tampa Bay on August 30. He became the third player on the team to test positive for the virus dating back to Aug. 27 and nine more have returned positive results since then.

After quarantining for 10 days, Perez was cleared to return to action and was sent out on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester over the weekend. The 30-year-old southpaw made one appearance for the WooSox on Sunday, tossing a scoreless seventh inning in a 3-1 victory over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Polar Park.

Prior to going on the COVID IL, Perez had made nine appearances as a reliever after being removed from Boston’s starting rotation and inserted into the bullpen in early August.

In those nine outings, the Venezuelan-born lefty posted a 6.43 ERA and .908 OPS against to go along with seven strikeouts to two walks over seven innings of work.

With the addition of Perez, the Red Sox now have eight players on the COVID IL. They are also back at full strength from the left side of the bullpen as Austin Davis, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Josh Taylor are all active.

Ort, meanwhile, initially had his contract selected from Worcester when Davis was placed on the paternity leave list and both infielder Jonathan Arauz and left-hander Chris Sale were placed on the COVID-19 related injured list this past Friday.

Though Ort was not called upon during this past weekend’s series against the White Sox, he did make his major-league debut in Seattle on Monday night. The 29-year-old righty was deployed in the eighth inning of a 5-4 game the Red Sox were losing and put two of the first three batters he faced on base via a leadoff single and one-out walk.

Only six of the 12 pitches Ort threw went for strikes, and he was relieved by Taylor, who escaped the jam he inherited by retiring the only two Mariners he faced in order.

While he was returned to the WooSox on Tuesday, it seems likely that Ort would remain on Boston’s taxi squad for the remainder of their road trip that concludes on Wednesday afternoon.

(Picture of Martin Perez: Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Red Sox roster moves: Xander Bogaerts, Darwinzon Hernandez activated; Kaleb Ort selected from Triple-A Worcester; Chris Sale, Jonathan Araúz placed on COVID-19 related injured list

Before opening up a three-game weekend series against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday, the Red Sox made an extensive flurry of roster moves.

First off, shortstop Xander Bogaerts was activated from the COVID-19 related injured list, while left-handed reliever Darwinzon Hernandez was reinstated from the 10-day injured list. Right-handed reliever Kaleb Ort also had his contract selected from Triple-A Worcester.

Secondly, ace left-hander Chris Sale and infielder Jonathan Arauz were both placed on the COVID-19 related injured list, while lefty reliever Austin Davis was placed on the paternity leave list.

The Red Sox made all of these transactions official earlier Friday night.

Bogaerts will return from the COVID-19 related injured list after initially testing positive for the virus while the Red Sox were taking on the Rays in St. Petersburg on August 31.

The 28-year-old was forced to exit in the second inning of that contest at Tropicana Field on account of that positive test and was immediately placed into a mandatory 10-day quarantine at the team’s hotel.

Since those 10 days are now up, Bogaerts was eligible to be activated on Friday, which winds up being the case. The three-time All-Star will be starting at shortstop and batting cleanup in the first of three against the American League Central-leading White Sox.

Joining Bogaerts on the active roster will be two relievers in the form of Hernandez and Ort.

Hernandez returns to the Boston bullpen after missing slightly more than six weeks of action due to a right oblique strain he sustained in a relief appearance against the Blue Jays back on July 29.

Placed on the 10-day injured list on July 31, the 24-year-old southpaw was sent out on a rehab assignment with Worcester this past Tuesday. He appeared in one game for the WooSox later that same day and worked a scoreless eighth inning in which he walked one and struck out another in a 5-4 win over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Polar Park.

Ort, on the other hand, is called up to a major-league roster for the first time in his professional career, as he will take the place of Sale on Boston’s 40-man roster for the time being.

The Red Sox originally selected Ort from the Yankees in the minor-league phase of last winter’s Rule 5 Draft — shortly after they picked up Garrett Whitlock from New York as well.

A former undrafted free agent who initially signed with the Diamondbacks in 2016 but joined the Yankees organization a year later, the 29-year-old righty has emerged as the bona fide closer for the WooSox this season.

In 40 appearances out of Worcester’s bullpen, Ort has posted a respectable 3.12 ERA and 3.56 FIP to go along with 59 strikeouts to 20 walks over 43 1/3 total innings of work. He also leads the WooSox with 18 saves on the year.

As previously mentioned, the Sox were able to call up Ort, who will wear the No. 85, without having to remove someone from their 40-man roster because of Sale being placed on the COVID-19 related injured list.

It was revealed earlier Friday that the ace left-hander had tested positive for the virus, and would subsequently be forced to miss his next scheduled start on Sunday as a result.

In testing positive for COVID-19, Sale becomes the 10th Red Sox player to do so since August 27 while also becoming the 12th player the club has had to place on the COVID IL since that date.

Boston’s starting rotation for this weekend’s series with Chicago initially had Tanner Houck starting the opener, Nick Pivetta starting the middle game, and Sale starting the finale.

Pivetta, who has been on the COVID IL since September 5 since he, too, tested positive, could be able to take Sale’s spot and start on Sunday.

Saturday’s contest, meanwhile, will likely fall to right-handed pitching prospect Connor Seabold, who — like Ort — traveled with the Sox to Chicago as part of the team’s taxi squad.

In addition to Sale, the Red Sox also placed Arauz on the COVID-19 related injured list, meaning the 23-year-old has now become the 13th player Boston has had to place on the COVID IL since their initial outbreak began in Cleveland two weeks ago.

Per MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, the reason for Arauz being placed on the COVID IL is a precautionary one, as the Panamanian-born infielder has been exhibiting virus-like symptoms, but has tested negative “multiple times.”

Along with Sale and Arauz, the Red Sox will also be without Davis for the time being since he is headed out on paternity leave, though the timing of his absence is in sync with the return of Hernandez.

Put another way, as Boston temporarily loses one left-handed bullpen option, they get another back in the Venezuelan southpaw.

Following Friday’s series of moves, the Red Sox’ major-league roster is at full capacity (26 players), while their 40-man roster currently sits at approximately 39 players.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Rule 5 picks Tyreque Reed (1.166 OPS at High-A), Kaleb Ort (0.00 ERA at Triple-A) among early Red Sox minor-league standouts

Back in December, the Red Sox selected right-hander Garrett Whitlock from the Yankees in the major-league phase of the 2020 Rule 5 Draft.

Since arriving in Fort Myers for the start of spring training in February, Whitlock has done nothing but impress in his time in a Red Sox uniform to this point.

Through his first 10 appearances out of Boston’s bullpen this season, the 24-year-old rookie owns an ERA of 1.77 and an xFIP of 2.92 in addition to 21 strikeouts to just three walks over 20 1/3 innings of work.

To say that Whitlock — who had not pitched above Double-A and underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2019 before joining the Red Sox — has been one of the club’s biggest and brightest surprises this year would be an understatement.

Having said that, though, Whitlock is not the only player the Sox selected in last December’s Rule 5 Draft that has gotten his 2021 campaign off to an impressive start.

In addition to taking Whitlock, Boston also selected first baseman Tyreque Reed from the Rangers and right-hander Kaleb Ort from the Yankees in the minor-league phase of the draft.

Reed, who turns 24 next month, is a former 2017 eighth-round draft pick who played for three Texas affiliates over three seasons before joining the Red Sox organization over the winter.

Known for his power, Reed — listed at 6-foot-1 and 250 pounds — has been crushing the ball with High-A Greenville so far this spring.

Over his first eight games with the Drive, the right-handed hitter is slashing .240/.406/760 with four home runs, nine RBI, nine runs scored, and five walks in 32 trips to the plate.

His latest home run was a walk-off piece that gave Greenville a 10-9 win over the Brooklyn Cyclones at Fluor Field on Sunday.

Among the top hitters in the High-A East (formerly the South Atlantic League), Reed ranks second in homers, 10th in RBI, 11th in on-base percentage, second in slugging percentage, and second in OPS (1.166).

The Mississippi native has also struck out in 25% of his plate appearances, which he has shown the tendency to do. But by getting on-base at a solid .406 clip, Reed has proven to be effective at the plate thus far, as evidenced by his early 207 wRC+.

“Power bat,” Red Sox vice president of pro scouting Gus Quattlebaum said of Reed this past December. “Big, physical right-handed hitting first baseman with big, big power that you see not only with the scout’s naked eye but also with the batted ball data. There’s a propensity from some strikeouts. We know he’s not immune to that. We really believe in the power potential. We’re really excited to bring him into the organization.”

Kaleb Ort, meanwhile, was selected by the Red Sox in the minor-league portion of the 2020 Rule 5 Draft after spending the previous four seasons as a member of the Yankees organization.

Unlike Reed, Ort was not drafted out of college and instead began his professional career in the Frontier League (independent) before signing as an undrafted free-agent with the Diamondbacks in 2016.

After being cut by Arizona the following spring, the Michigan native returned to the Frontier League before signing with New York in May 2017.

While with the Yankees, Ort appeared in a total of 90 games across five levels between 2017-2019 prior to getting scooped up by the Red Sox in December.

After receiving an invite to big-league camp in February, the 6-foot-4, 233 pound hurler opened the 2021 season at the Sox’ alternate training site and later Triple-A Worcester.

In six appearances out of the WooSox’ bullpen thus far, the 29-year-old has been lights out, as he has allowed just one unearned run on three hits and no walks to go along with nine strikeouts over six innings pitched. He has also converted four of a possible four save opportunities in the process of emerging as Worcester’s primary closer.

“Kaleb Ort is a guy who has really stood out to me, he took the closer role and ran with it,” WooSox pitching coach Paul Abbott recently told MassLive.com’s Katie Morrison. “He’s come in and slammed the door without really any threat of a hiccup at all. He’s throwing strikes, aggressive, and he’s been impressive.”

Per his SoxProspects.com scouting report, Ort works with a two-pitch mix that consists of a mid-90s fastball that can top out at 98 mph and a slider.

That two-pitch mix has proven to be a potent combination for the righty reliever thus far, as he is holding opponents to a .150 batting average against while boasting a 40.9% strikeout rate, a 0.89 FIP, and a 2.20 xFIP.

What Ort has been doing in Worcester has caught the attention of Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who got to first know him earlier this year during spring training.

“He’s a good one,” Cora said before Tuesday’s game against the Blue Jays . “His stuff plays. I really like what I saw. Velocity got better in spring training and he was throwing the ball well down there. He’s a guy we’re looking at, obviously, for the right reasons. We’re very excited with what he’s doing, what he did in spring training and what he can do, probably, in the future.”

With that, it sounds as though Ort could garner big-league consideration at some point this season if he continues to turn heads while closing out games for the WooSox.

Because the 2021 minor-league season is less than two full weeks old, it’s no sure thing that either one of Reed or Ort will be able to keep up with the level at which they are performing at at the moment.

Still, what these two Red Sox minor-league Rule 5 picks have done in their first month with their new organization has been eye-opening to say the least. If they can keep it up over the course of the summer will be something worth monitoring for sure.

(Picture of Kaleb Ort: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

New Podding the Red Sox episode: MassLive.com’s Katie Morrison joins the show

On this week’s installment of Podding the Red Sox: A BloggingtheRedSox.com Podcast, I am joined by Katie Morrison, who covers the Worcester Red Sox for MassLive.com.

Among the topics Katie and I discussed were how she got into writing about baseball and her background in photojournalism, what she has made of brand-new Polar Park and the overall fan experience there, which Red Sox prospects (like Jarren Duran and Jeter Downs) and minor-leaguers (like Kaleb Ort) have stood out to her in Worcester so far, how she believes the 2021 WooSox will perform the rest of the season, and much more!

The episode is available to listen to on iTunes and Spotify, among other platforms.

Thanks to Katie for taking some time out of her busy schedule to have a conversation with me.

You can follow Katie on Twitter (@KatieMo61) by clicking here. You can check out her WooSox coverage for MassLive.com by clicking here.

Thank you for listening and we will see you next time! Please make sure to subscribe and leave a five-star review if you can!

(Picture of Polar Park: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)