Red Sox to Stay in Same Hotel, Use Six Buses While in New York for Series Against Mets and Yankees

Adding on to Monday’s story about the Red Sox’ upcoming seven-game road trip, the club has put an adequate plan in place for their stay in New York City, according to manager Ron Roenicke.

Upon the completion of their two-game series against the Mets at Fenway Park on Tuesday, the Sox will depart from Logan Airport early Wednesday morning and arrive at Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey at around 1:00 a.m. eastern time if all goes according to plan.

From there, the team will travel by bus from the airport to their hotel, the Lotte New York Palace in Midtown, where they will be spending the next five days for both of their series against the Mets and Yankees going into the weekend.

Per Roenicke, who spoke with reporters via Zoom prior to Tuesday’s contest with the Metropolitans, the Red Sox have “reserved a large ballroom [in their hotel] for meals and training staff.”

In regards to getting around the city, the club will utilize six buses when traveling between their hotel and both New York ballparks — Citi Field and Yankee Stadium — to ensure that proper social distancing protocols are followed through the use of assigned seating.

Despite all that’s gone on around baseball the past 24 hours, with the Phillies and Marlins pausing their seasons and all that, Roenicke still doesn’t seem too worried about traveling amid an ongoing pandemic, saying that “I still don’t have those concerns (about traveling). The more things happen, the more you hear about it, probably the more that it’s on my mind.”

After Tuesday, the Red Sox will not be back in Boston until the morning of August 6. A lot could change between now and then, and Roenicke, a former player himself, is definitely aware of that when keeping today’s players in mind.

If we get to the point where the players really feel at risk,” he said, “I know MLB will step in and do something.” 

Here’s to hoping the league doesn’t have to step in unless it is absolutely necessary.

Red Sox Lineup: Andrew Benintendi Batting Ninth in Series Finale Against Mets

For the first time since his debut season in 2016, Andrew Benintendi is batting ninth for the Red Sox in Tuesday night’s game against the Mets at Fenway Park. This is likely the case because New York will be rolling with 24-year-old rookie left-hander David Peterson as their starting pitcher to close out this short two-game series.

Outside of the 2016 season, the only other time Benintendi has been in the nine-hole has been as a pinch-hitter. In 95 career plate appearances as a No. 9 hitter, the 26-year-old is slashing .329/.372/.553 with two home runs, 11 doubles, and 13 RBI.

Narrowing that sample size down, Benintendi is a lifetime .222/.211/.222 hitter in 20 career plate appearances against southpaws when batting out of the nine-hole.

That second set of data may not be as encouraging as the first, but perhaps moving Benintendi down in the Sox’ batting order is what the former first-round pick needs in order to clear his head a little bit seeing how he is off to a 1-for-14 start at the plate four games into the 2020 season.

Before Monday’s game against the Mets, Benintendi didn’t seem too concerned about his slow start. At the time, he had yet to record a hit, but as previously mentioned, he picked up his first knock of the season later that same day on an infield bunt single.

“I’m usually a slow starter,” Benintendi said when speaking to reporters via Zoom. “I’m not panicking. So hopefully I’ll get that first one tonight and then roll from there.”

Out of the nine-hole on Tuesday, Benintendi certainly has the opportunity to get on a roll. Just like everyone else in the Red Sox lineup, he has never faced Peterson before at the major-league level.

Here’s how the rest of the Red Sox will be lining up behind left-hander Matt Hall, who will be making his first career big-league start in this one.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. eastern time on NESN and WEEI. Last game in Boston for the Sox before they spend five straight days in New York City.

 

 

Zack Godley Just About Lone Bright Spot for Red Sox in 7-4 Loss to Mets

After a disappointing start to their season over the weekend, the Red Sox saw their losing streak grow to three games on Monday night in a 7-4 defeat at the hands of the Mets at Fenway Park.

Josh Osich got the start for Boston to kick off this two-game interleague series, and he was far from perfect in his first experience as an opener. That being the case because over two innings of work, the left-hander surrendered two runs, both of which were earned, on two hits and one walk to go along with one strikeout on the night.

Both of those Mets runs scored against Osich came off the bat of Michael Conforto, who made the veteran southpaw pay for a leadoff walk of J.D. Davis in the second inning by crushing a two-run home run into the right field bleachers moments later. Once again, the Red Sox found themselves in an early hole, and that hole only got deeper as the Sox turned to another lefty, Jeffrey Springs, to start things out in the third.

Springs, acquired from the Rangers in January, did not fare much better than Osich. In fact, you can even say he had a tougher time of things considering the fact that he served up an absolute missile of a two-run homer to Pete Alonso in the third and a three-run blast to Dominic Smith in the fourth.

The 27-year-old did manage to retire the last man he faced in Brandon Nimmo, but the damage had already been done seeing how his side was down by seven runs. Heath Hembree came on with one out in the top half of the fourth and finished the inning.

From there, things actually got better for the Red Sox pitching staff thanks in large part to the recently-signed Zack Godley, who was slated to be the “bulk inning guy” for Boston in this one.

In what was his long-awaited Red Sox debut, Godley served that role well by working four scoreless frames while scattering four hits and no walks to go along with seven punchouts against the 16 Mets hitters he faced.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 53 (36 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler relied mostly on his cutter and knuckle curveball while inducing 15 total swings and misses with the combination of pitches. He also topped out at 90.5 mph with that cutter.

Seeing how the Sox’ starting rotation is basically in shambles, Godley should be a candidate to start for Boston when they face off against the Yankees in the Bronx this coming Saturday.

In relief of Godley, right-hander Phillips Valdez wrapped things up by tossing a scoreless ninth inning to hold the Mets at seven runs. Not like it mattered much in the end, but still encouraging to see from someone who is not well-known like Valdez.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against veteran right-hander Michael Wacha for the Mets, who made his first in-game appearance at Fenway Park since pitching in Game 6 of the 2013 World Series.

Contrary to that outing in which he gave up six runs in fewer than four innings of work, the now-29-year-old Wacha was much more effective in his Mets debut. It also didn’t help that the Sox found themselves down by four runs before this game was even a third of the way over.

Back to Wacha, the only Boston run that was scored off the ex-Cardinal came courtesy of a two-out solo home run from Mitch Moreland in the bottom half of the fourth. Moreland’s first big fly of 2020 put his side on the board and made it a 7-1 game in favor of New York.

Fast forward to the sixth, and Xander Bogaerts greeted new Mets reliever Chasen Shreve by taking the left-hander deep to the opposite field on a one-out, 1-1 92 MPH heater right down the heart of the plate. That made it a 7-2 contest.

In the eighth, Moreland and Bogaerts struck once more, this time combining to plate another pair of runs on an RBI groundout and single off Jeurys Familia to make things a little more interesting at 7-4.

A las, nothing more came of that, as Seth Lugo entered for the Mets, fanned Christian Vazquez on seven pitches, and tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to secure a three-run victory for his side and a third straight loss for the Red Sox.

Some notes and observations from this loss:

From The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

From MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo:

From The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham:

The Red Sox have been outscored 21-10 since Friday’s Opening Day win over the Orioles.

Andrew Benintendi got his first hit of the season on Monday, albeit it came on a bunt single. Rafael Devers also collected his second hit of the year, an opposite field double off the base of the Green Monster.

The Braves designated right-hander and 2018 National League All-Star Mike Foltynewicz on Monday. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox should be in on that all things considered.

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the series finale of the first leg of this home-at-home bout against the Mets.

Left-hander Matt Hall will get the start for Boston, while New York has yet to name a starter.

According to Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke, Hall, who will be making his first career major-league start, “could go four or five [innings]” since he’s been stretched out.

“I think if he’s pitching well, he’ll be in there for a few innings hopefully,” Roenicke said of Hall on Sunday. “And then we’ll piece together the end of it.”

Hall, who turned 27 years old last week, impressed the Sox during Summer Camp, nearly six month after the southpaw was initially acquired in a trade with the Tigers.

In 21 career relief appearances with Detroit dating back to 2018, the Missouri State product owns a 9.48 ERA and 5.15 FIP over 31 1/3 innings pitched. He has also made 85 career starts in the minors since being taken in the sixth round of the 2015 draft.

‘You Do Not Go Into Nightclubs. You Do Not Go Into Bars’; Red Sox Players Will Not Be Allowed to Do Certain Things While on Road Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

After Tuesday night’s game against the Mets, the Red Sox will hit the road for the first time this season. The club’s first road trip of 2020 includes stops in Queens, the Bronx, and Tampa Bay. With all that traveling in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic comes a great deal of responsibility for players and staff alike, especially in Florida, which has emerged as one of the hot spots for coronavirus in recent weeks.

When speaking with reporters prior to Monday’s series opener against New York, Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke detailed a Zoom meeting the team held to inform players what they can and cannot do on the road. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom was also involved.

“We’re going on the road. We need to be careful with what we do,” Roenicke said regarding his team’s upcoming travels. “We are talking about different cities and who’s more at risk doing things in certain areas. New York has done a good job. You may be okay walking to a place there more than you would be in Florida.”

Earlier Monday, it was revealed that at least 14 Miami Marlins players and coaches tested positive for COVID-19, which led the club to cancelling their home opener against the Orioles while they remain in self-isolation in Philadelphia, where they spent the weekend playing the Phillies.

According to the Center for Disease Control’s COVID Data Tracker, there have been nearly 419,000 total coronavirus cases in the state of Florida thus far, which is second-most in the Untied States behind only California.

With all that information in mind, playing baseball games in Florida, whether it be in Miami or Tampa Bay, will obviously raise concerns among MLB players and staff while cases continue to rise.

As previously mentioned, the Red Sox will be arriving in Florida next week for a brief-two-game set against the Rays. With an off day on the Monday before that series begins, it will be imperative that the Sox follow the proper virus-related protocols. Roenicke said as much when speaking with reporters earlier.

“You do not go into nightclubs. You do not go into bars,” he stated when recounting what was told to the players in Monday’s Zoom meeting. “To be a hermit and stay in your room for the whole time and just go to the ballpark and stay home, it’s hard to tell a player they have to do it.”

With all the virus-related issues that have sprung up in the past 24 hours, more players may be leaning towards opting out of the remainder of the 2020 season. Roenicke, however, is hopeful that if the Red Sox can make players feel more comfortable, then they will not have to worry about that possibility.

“I don’t want to make them fearful of going on the road and playing. We’ve done a good job so far,” said the Sox skipper. “The more we keep them safe, the more comfortable they feel. We can continue on with this.”

Again, the Red Sox will be departing Boston for New York on Tuesday night. Hopefully we’ll still have a Major League Baseball season to talk about by then.

 

 

Red Sox Lineup: Andrew Benintendi Back in Leadoff Spot in First Game Against Mets

After dropping two out of three to the Orioles over the Weekend, the Red Sox will look to get back on track in the first of a four-game, home-at-home series against the Mets beginning on Monday night at Fenway Park.

Boston’s first interleague opponent of the season, the Mets last visited Fenway in September 2018, where they too dropped two out of three to the eventual World Series champions that year.

As far as this week’s series goes, left-hander Josh Osich will be making his first career big-league start for the Sox in Monday’s opener. I say that, but Oscih will really serve as the opener for Boston, meaning he’ll work an inning or two before right-hander Zack Godley is dispatched as the team’s “bulk” pitcher.

Osich, 31, mainly relies on a cutter, sinker, and slider. He made his Red Sox debut on Saturday against the O’s and worked a scoreless ninth inning.

Offensively speaking, here’s how the Boston bats will line up behind Osich as they’ll be matched up against veteran right-hander Michael Wacha for the Mets.

Right off the bat, Andrew Benintendi is back in the leadoff spot after being limited to pinch-hit duty in Sunday’s loss to Baltimore. The 26-year-old has yet to record a hit this season in 12 trips to the plate, so it’s imperative that he gets it going if he wants consistent playing time going forward.

From there, it goes J.D. Martinez, Rafael Devers, who collected his first base knock of 2020 on Sunday, and Xander Bogaerts making up the 2-3-4 portion of the lineup.

Mitch Moreland will be making his second start of the season at first with a right-handed pitcher on the mound for New York, while Christian Vazquez will be catching Osich to begin things on Monday.

Rounding up this edition of the Red Sox lineup are Alex Verdugo, getting the start in right field, Jackie Bradley Jr., getting the start in center, and Jose Peraza, who is batting ninth while once again starting at second base.

Per Rotowire, Peraza and reserve catcher Jonathan Lucroy are the only two Red Sox position players who have any experience against Wacha, which is understandable seeing how all three previously spent a decent amount of time playing in the National League Central.

Peraza is 4-for-13 (.308) lifetime off the Mets right-hander with one double and three RBI. Lucroy, on the other hand, is 6-for-16 (.375) lifetime with one double, one home run, and three RBI.

As you might have already figured out, Wacha, who turned 29 earlier this month, will be making his first career regular season start against the Red Sox on Monday. He started Games 2 and 6 of the 2013 World Series against Boston while a member of the St. Louis Cardinals and went 1-1 with an ERA of 7.45 over those two outings.

The Red Sox will be looking to get back to .500 to kick off the week against the Metropolitans of Queens, who are also 1-2 three games into the 2020 campaign.

First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. eastern time on NESN, ESPN, and WEEI.

Just Three Games Into Season, Lack of Starting Pitching Depth Already Coming Into Light for Red Sox

The Red Sox went into the 2020 season with three true starting pitchers — Nathan Eovaldi, Martin Perez, and Ryan Weber — on their Opening Day roster. The other two spots in the Sox’ rotation were going to go to openers.

Now three games into the 60-game campaign, Red Sox starting pitching has been a bit of a mixed bag of sorts against the Baltimore Orioles of all teams. Eovaldi impressed on Friday with six innings of one-run ball and a win, Perez struggled in his Boston debut but did end his outing with three scoreless innings in a losing effort on Saturday, and Weber had issues with his command in the rotation’s shortest start of the weekend on Sunday.

All together, Red Sox starting pitchers own an ERA of 11.99 (11 earned runs in 14 2/3 total innings pitched) thus far. Take that for what it’s worth, and then remember that as they prepare for a two-game series against the Mets this week, the two “starters” they are planning on going with have amassed a total of zero career games started in the majors.

Those two “starters,” or openers, for Boston on Monday and Tuesday will be left-handers Josh Osich and Matt Hall, both of whom were acquired by chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom over the winter.

Osich, claimed off waivers by Boston from the White Sox last October, made his Red Sox debut and tossed a scoreless ninth inning in Saturday’s 7-2 loss to Baltimore.

Hall, meanwhile, was acquired by Boston in a trade that saw minor-league catcher Jhon Nunez go to the Detroit Tigers back in January. The 27-year-old impressed during Summer Camp, but has yet to make his Red Sox debut.

With Osich, the plan for the 31-year-old is to pitch an inning or two against New York on Monday before the recently-signed Zack Godley enters in a bulk role.

“It’s the left-handed pitcher against their left-handed lineup,” Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said in regards to opening with Oscih against the Mets. “Just trying to get through an inning or two, then go to more of a bulk guy. So that’s the plan right now. We’ll see how it goes.”

As for Hall, expect Roenicke to have more to say about the southpaw following Monday’s bout with the Mets at Fenway Park.

Red Sox Call up Right-Hander Zack Godley, Option Dylan Covey to Pawtucket

Prior to wrapping up a three-game weekend series against the Orioles on Sunday afternoon, the Red Sox added right-hander Zack Godley to their active roster and optioned right-hander Dylan Covey to their alternate training site in Pawtucket in a corresponding move.

Godley, 30, signed a minor-league deal with Boston on July 17 shortly after getting released by the Detroit Tigers.

The veteran rigthy made two appearances for the Sox during Summer Camp, with the first coming in an intrasquad game and the second coming in an exhibition game against the Blue Jays.

In that rain-shortened contest against Toronto on July 22, Godley got the start and tossed three scoreless no-hit innings, but that wasn’t enough for a rotation spot right away as he was initially left off Boston’s Opening Day roster.

Now, the former Diamondbacks hurler will get the chance, likely on Monday or Tuesday against the Mets, to prove that he is indeed worthy of hanging around with the Red Sox. Whether that comes as a starter or reliever has yet to be determined.

And for what it’s worth, the Red Sox now have 39 players on their 40-man roster.

Red Sox Claim Left-Hander Stephen Gonsalves off Waivers From Mets

The Red Sox have claimed left-hander Stephen Gonsalves off waivers from the New York Mets and optioned him to their alternative training site in Pawtucket, the club announced Saturday evening.

Gonsalves, who turned 26 earlier this month, was designated for assignment by the Mets on Thursday in order to open a spot on their 40-man roster.

A former top prospect of the Twins organization, Gonsalves last appeared in the majors in 2018, posting a 6.57 ERA and 5.71 FIP over seven appearances (four starts) and 24 2/3 total innings pitched for Minnesota.

In the minors, Gonsalves only made eight appearances between three different levels in 2019 as he was hampered by elbow issues or more specifically, a stress reaction in his left elbow/forearm.

The 2013 fourth-round draft pick out of Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego was let go by the Twins this past November before subsequently getting picked up by the Mets. Obviously, his tenure with New York only lasted a little more than eight months.

Per his Statcast page, Gonsalves operates with a four-seam fastball, a changeup, a cutter, and a slider. He will likely serve as rotation depth for Boston.

By adding Gonsalves, the Red Sox now have 38 players on their 40-man roster. Their player pool size has also reached maximum capacity at 60.

That Time Justin Turner Nearly Signed Minor-League Deal With Red Sox

Justin Turner has been one of the best third basemen in the National League since joining the Dodgers in 2014.

Over the past six seasons, the 35-year-old owns a slash line of .302/.381/.506 with 112 home runs. 383 RBI, one All-Star nod, and three top-15 finishes in NL MVP voting.

As impressive as those numbers may be, Turner’s rise to stardom was far from expected prior to signing with Los Angeles.

A former seventh-round draft pick of the Reds in 2006 out of Cal State Fullerton, Turner’s stay in Cincinnati’s farm system did not last long, as he was part of the trade that sent veteran catcher Ramon Hernandez from Baltimore to the Reds in December 2008.

Making his major-league debut with the Orioles the following September, in a game against the Red Sox, Turner went 0-for-2 with a strikeout and did not do much in a limited role the remainder of the 2009 season.

The 2010 campaign marked a period of turbulence for Turner. He was called up and sent down by the Orioles on three separate occasions before being designated for assignment on May 21st of that year.

Four days later, the Long Beach native found himself a member of the New York Mets after the club had claimed him off waivers, and he reported to Triple-A Buffalo.

Turner got his first real crack with New York in April 2011, and he emerged as a solid utility player who could come off the bench and play multiple positions around the infield.

In terms of bWAR, Turner’s 2012 season was just about identical to what he did in 2011, albeit in 23 fewer games. His 2013 season, in which he was limited to 86 games due to a hamstring injury, was even better using that same metric, but the Mets made the ultimate decision to non-tender the infielder that December rather than pay him the $800,000 he was projected to earn in 2014.

“Don’t assume every non-tender is a function of money,” ex-Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said at the time when asked about Turner being released by New York. Apparently, there were reports that Mets brass questioned Turner’s motivation and lack of hustle.

Despite those reports, Turner was a coveted minor-league free agent in the months following his release. The Red Sox were one of those teams that were interested in his services.

Per WEEI’s John Tomase, who now covers the Red Sox for NBC Sports Boston, former Sox general manager Ben Cherington made a “hard push” to land Turner, and the two sides nearly agreed to a deal. That is, until the Dodgers and Ned Coletti came calling.

“I had to make a decision by midnight or the next morning and the Dodgers called that night,” Turner told Tomase prior to the start of the 2018 World Series. “At the time, it was between the Red Sox and the Twins. Obviously Boston was a world class organization with a lot of good young players and a general manager that expressed his interest in really wanting me to be here. There were a lot of good things coming out of it. I was honestly getting excited about it and looking forward to it.”

With that excitement for Turner also came concern in how the Red Sox utilized their role players under then-manager John Farrell. The Dodgers, meanwhile, showed more of a willingness to use bench players, as would be expected from most National League clubs.

“One of the deciding factors between Boston and L.A., Don Mattingly used his bench players a lot,” Turner said. “You look at Nick Punto and Skip Schumaker and Michael Young all having 300 at-bats the season before as utility players. And then you look at the Boston bench guys having 70 at-bats, 80 at-bats.”

The opportunity to play more, as well as the chance to remain in the National League, ultimately won Turner over, and he inked a minor-league pact with the Dodgers that February.

““Going into free agency that year, my main goal was to stay in the National League for the opportunity to be a utility guy and still get to play,” he said. “So when the Dodgers came into the picture, that kind of answered the question for me, made it not as difficult a choice, although I was excited and looking forward to possibly being a Red Sox.”

As previously mentioned, Turner went onto blossom into a star third baseman with Los Angeles and is now entering the final year of the four-year, $64 million extension he signed in December 2016.

Having failed to sign Turner in 2014, Cherington went out and made a big splash later that same calendar year by bringing in free-agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval on a five-year, $95 million contract.

Sandoval flopped with Boston, and was ultimately designated for assignment and later released on July 19th of the 2017 season. At that same time, Turner was fresh off making his first career All-Star team.

The Red Sox have since found their third baseman of the future in the form of 23-year-old Rafael Devers, but it’s still interesting to look back and wonder what ripple effects signing Turner could have had on the club in 2020 and beyond.

 

Red Sox Claim Chris Mazza off Waivers From Mets

Earlier Friday, the Red Sox claimed right-handed reliever Chris Mazza off waivers from the New York Mets.

Mazza, who was designated by New York last week, posted an ERA of 5.51 and xFIP of 5.47 over nine relief appearances and 16 1/3 innings of work this past season, his first in the majors.

The 30-year-old hurler was originally drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 27th round of the 2011 amateur draft out of Walnut Creek, Ca. and had to work his way through independent league ball in 2018 in order to make it back as a Rule 5 pick of the Mets that year.

While with the Mets’ Double- A and Triple-A clubs this season, Mazza allowed a total of 43 runs (40 earned) on 91 hits and 26 walks over 18 appearances, 17 of which were starts. That’s good for an ERA of 3.61 and batting average against of .247.

Per Statcast, Mazza relies on five pitches: a changeup, a cutter, a four-seam fastball, a sinker, and a slider. He averaged 90.6 MPH with his four-seamer in 2019.

Mazza joins left-hander Josh Osich as additions chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom and Co. have made through waivers so far this offseason. As the above tweet mentions, the righty is the 40th player on the Red Sox’ current 40-man roster, which is subject to change.