Former Red Sox Utilityman Brock Holt Garnering Interest From Blue Jays in Free Agency, per Report

Former Red Sox utilityman Brock Holt is reportedly drawing interest from the Toronto Blue Jays in free agency, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.

This news comes two days after it was reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale Jr. that the Reds were “one of the teams interested” in acquiring the 31-year-old’s services.

Holt, who has spent the previous seven seasons with Boston after coming over from the Pittsburgh Pirates in a December 2012 trade, is a free agent for the first time in his career.

A fan-favorite in Boston for what he has done both on and off the field, Holt has expressed interest in a reunion with the Sox, and chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom even said at the Winter Meetings last month that what the Jimmy Fund captain has done for the community “has not been lost on any of us.”

However, bringing Holt back now seems out of the question due to the influx of infielders the Red Sox currently have on their 40-man roster.

If he were to sign with the Jays, the Texas native would be a suitable replacement for fellow utility infielder Eric Sogard, whom Toronto dealt to the Rays last July.

A veteran presence in the clubhouse with the ability to play multiple positions and hit for average on the field. That is what Holt can bring to the table for a young team that includes rising talents such as Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio.

Of course, seeing Holt in a division rival’s uniform would take some getting used to, but it would also allow Red Sox fans to see him up to 19 times per season between Fenway Park and Rogers Centre.

In 33 career games north of the border, Holt owns a lifetime .308/.352/.419 slash line to go along with one home run and 12 RBI.

Back in November, MLB Trade Rumors predicted that Holt would sign a two-year, $8 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Arizona seems to be an unlikely destination at this point, but how much Holt signs for will be interesting to see once it finally does happen.

 

Michael Chavis Comes Through with Game-Winning Home Run in 13th Inning as #RedSox Hold on to Defeat Blue Jays 6-5

After trading blowouts in the first two games of this series, the Red Sox and Blue Jays were matched up in a tightly contested bout on Wednesday, with the Sox needing 13 innings to secure the 6-3 win over Toronto for their 26th of the year.

Making his 10th start of the season for Boston was Rick Porcello, fresh off seven-plus innings of two-run ball in his last time out against the Houston Astros and known for his struggles at Rogers Centre.

Working six full innings in this one, the right-hander limited the Jays to just one run while scattering three hits and zero walks to go along with four strikeouts on the night.

That one run came in Toronto’s half of the fourth, when rookie phenom Vladimir Guerrero Jr. led the frame off by blasting his fifth home run of the season and first in front of the Rogers Centre crowd to make it a 2-1 game.

Other than that, Porcello retired nine of the next 10 hitters he faced from that point in the fourth until the conclusion of the sixth, where his outing came to a close.

Finishing with a conservative final pitch count of only 80 (54 strikes), the 30-year-old hurler turned to his two-seam fastball nearly 28% of the time he was on the mound Wednesday with Sandy Leon behind the plate. He also topped out at 92 MPH with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he induced three swings and misses with and threw 19 times.

Hit with the no-decision for the second time this month, Porcello will look for win number four in his next time out, which should come against the Cleveland Indians back home on Monday.

In relief of Porcello, Brandon Workman entered this contest in the middle of the seventh with a two-run lead to protect, got the first two outs of the inning relatively smoothly, and proceeded to run into a buzzsaw.

Freddy Galvis, Brandon Drury, and Billy McKinney all reached to load the bases on Workman, who then allowed the Blue Jays’ deficit to be cut down to one by walking Luke Maile on five pitches.

Somehow though, the righty bounced back by getting Eric Sogard to ground out to second to retire the side and that was that.

From there, after Rafael Devers got that important insurance run back in Boston’s top half of the eighth, Matt Barnes gave it right back in the bottom half on a one-out solo shot from Justin Smoak to make it a one-run game yet again at 4-3.

With the chance to close this one out in the ninth, Marcus Walden, making his 17th appearance of the season, surrendered the then tying-run to cross the plate on a two-out, pinch-hit RBI single off the bat of Danny Jansen. 4-4 headed into extras.

In the 10th, it looked as though the Jays were going to steal a win from the Sox with the bases loaded yet again and only one out in the inning, but with the help of a five-man infiled thanks to Mookie Betts moving in from right, Walden held Toronto to nothing by striking out Freddy Galvis on four pitches and by getting Brandon Drury to fly out to Andrew Benintendi in left for the third and final out of the frame.

Still a 4-4 game headed into the 11th, Ryan Brasier held the Toronto bats in order before Mookie Betts put Boston ahead in the top half of the 12th.

Again with the chance to close this one out, Hembree came up short by serving up a two-out, 401 foot solo homer to noted masher of baseballs Rowdy Tellez to again tie this game at five runs a piece.

Fortunately for the Red Sox, after Michael Chavis delivered the finishing blow to begin the 13th, Hembree rebounded and closed things out with a 1-2-3 inning of his own, picking up the win and securing the slim 6-5 win for his team.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against right-hander Aaron Sanchez for the Blue Jays, a hurler they have seen plenty of times before over the years.

Starting the scoring for Boston in this marathon game was Mitch Moreland, whose two-out RBI single off of Sanchez in the third to plate Jackie Bradley Jr. from third put the Red Sox on the board first.

Just three pitches after that ordeal, Xander Bogaerts struck with another RBI single off Sanchez, this one scoring Mookie Betts all the way from second to give Boston an early two-run advantage.

Fast forward all the way to the seventh, with Daniel Hudson in for Toronto, and a Jackie Bradley Jr. leadoff double, followed by back-to-back one out walks drawn by Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts loaded the bases for Mitch Moreland and the middle part of the Sox lineup.

Moreland contributed by collecting his second RBI of the night on a run-scoring groundout to second, but that was all the Boston bats could muster in the frame. 3-1.

An inning later, Rafael Devers’ power-surge continued, as the young infielder launched his third big fly in the last three days, this one a 400 foot, 109.2 MPH opposite field solo dinger off Derek Law to lead off the eighth and make it a 4-2 game.

Fast forward again to the 12th after the Blue Jays had battled their way back, and it seemed as though Mookie Betts had came through with the biggest hit of the night for the Red Sox, a two-out, 423 foot laser to dead center off Joe Biagini. His eighth of the season to put his team ahead 5-4.

A las, Toronto answered back with that Rowdy Tellez homer in their half of the 12th, and we were on to the 13th.

There, with one out and up against Blue Jays reliever Jimmy Cordero for the first time in his big league career, it was rookie Michael Chavis who came through with the late-game heroics.

Down in the count at 1-2, the 23-year-old ripped a 91 MPH cutter from Cordero and wound up sending it 424 feet into the left center field seats for his 10th dinger of the season already.

That put the Red Sox ahead 6-5, and that would go on to be Wednesday’s final score in a contest that took four-and-a-half hours to complete. Fun times!

Some notes from this win:

From Red Sox Notes:

From the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier:

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s a quick turnaround in the finale of this four-game series on Thursday.

Right-hander Ryan Weber will get the ball in what’s sure to be a bullpen day for Boston, while left-hander Clayton Richard will do the same for Toronto.

Since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on May 6th, Weber, 28, has posted a stout 1.13 ERA over three relief appearances and eight total innings of work this season. He has never pitched at Rogers Centre.

Richard, meanwhile, will be making his 2019 season debut for the Blue Jays after spending the beginning of the year on the injured list due to a stress reaction in his right knee.

In two career outings (one start) against the Red Sox, Richard is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA over a brief six inning sample size.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 12:37 PM EDT on NESN. Last one before heading down to Houston for Memorial Day Weekend.

 

 

Eduardo Rodriguez Gets Taken Deep Three Times as #RedSox Fall to Blue Jays in Blowout 10-3 Loss

How do you follow up a 12-2 blowout win to open up a seven-game road trip? By getting blown out yourself the very next day, of course!

That’s right, after blowing the doors off the Blue Jays in the first of a four-game set on Monday, the Red Sox fell behind in the fourth inning on Tuesday and never recovered.

Making his 10th start of the season for Boston was Eduardo Rodriguez, who entered the day unbeaten in his last seven outings.

Working the first five innings of this one, the left-hander yielded six runs, all earned, on six hits and three walks to go along with five strikeouts on the night. Half of those hits went for Blue Jays home runs.

Retiring eight of the first 10 hitters he faced, the bottom half of the fourth is where things fell apart for Rodriguez, and it all started with a harmless leadoff single off the bat of baseball’s top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr., making his first ever start against the Red Sox after being held out of Toronto’s lineup Monday.

That was followed up by Justin Smoak flying out to center field for the first out of the inning, and then Rodriguez went ahead and made his first mistake of the evening, an 83 MPH changeup located way inside that Blue Jays designated hitter Rowdy Tellez took deep to right field to put his team on the board at 2-0.

Two pitches later, Toronto added to their lead, this time with Randal Grichuk taking Rodriguez deep to left on a 1-0, 87 MPH changeup on the bottom half of the strikezone.

In the fifth, it was once again Vladimir Guerrero Jr. who would wind up being the catalyst for another three-run inning by ripping another single off of Rodriguez with two outs in the inning.

After Justin Smoak drew a five-pitch walk and a wild pitch allowed both runners to advance up 90 feet, Tellez struck again for his second dinger of the night, this one a three-run, 397 foot shot to right field that seemed avoidable.

Why do I say that? Well, when you see where Christian Vazquez was set up, and then when you see where that 82 MPH slider ended up, it becomes a bit frustrating.

Anyway, Rodriguez got Grichuk to fly out to center for the final out of the fifth, and that is how his night would come to a close.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 95 (57 strikes), the 26-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball nearly 37% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday, inducing two swings and misses and topping out at 93.8 MPH with the pitch.

Falling to 4-3 on the season with his ERA jumping up to 5.43, Rodriguez will look to improve those numbers in his next time out against the Houston Astros on Sunday.

In relief of Rodriguez, Tyler Thornburg entered this contest in the sixth with his team trailing by five runs and left with them trailing by seven thanks to back-to-back RBI singles from Danny Jansen and Brandon Drury.

From there, Colten Brewer allowed an additional pair of runs to score in the seventh on a two-RBI double from Drury before retiring the side in order in the eighth. Just a banner day for Red Sox pitching.

On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against the ace of the Blue Jays pitching staff in 5’7″ right-hander Marcus Stroman.

Despite having several opportunities to push some runs across, the Boston bats didn’t get going until it was already too late.

It started in the second inning, really. No outs, runners on first and second in a scoreless game. Michael Chavis grounds into a 6-4-3 double play and Xander Bogaerts ends up stranded at third.

Just an inning later, one out and the 9-1-2 hitters do their job by loading the bases for the middle part of the lineup. Anything to show for it? Nope, because Mitch Moreland and Xander Bogaerts both struck out to end the top half of the third.

Fast forward to the sixth, Moreland led off what looked to be a promising frame by mashing his team-leading 13th homer of the season off of Stroman, a 352 foot shot to the opposite field to make it a 6-1 game.

Back-to-back walks drawn by Rafael Devers and Chavis in the same inning gave the Sox another chance to trim their deficit, but a 6-4-3 twin killing off the bat of Christian Vazquez put an end to that potential rally.

In the seventh, Stroman was chased due to Jackie Bradley Jr. and Steve Pearce reaching base to leadoff the inning.

One pitching change that saw left-hander Tim Mayza take over and one walk drawn by Andrew Benintendi later, the bases were full for the part of the Boston lineup you want the bases full for.

But, again, nothing to show with Mookie Betts and Moreland going down by way of the K and Bogaerts grounding out to short to end the seventh.

And in the eighth, a pair of solo homers from Devers and Bradley Jr. off Joe Biagini and Sam Gaviglio made it a 10-3 contest in favor of Toronto, which would go on to be Tuesday’s final score.

For Devers, his fifth big fly of the season and second in as many days to secure another mult-hit game.

Bradley Jr., meanwhile, has also homered in two straight. That much is encouraging to see.

Some notes from this loss:

The Red Sox went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday while also leaving 10 on base. Not great.

Tyler Thornburg has allowed runs in nine of his 16 appearances so far this season. His ERA currently stands at 7.71.

Over his last two starts, opposing hitters are slashing .333/.392/.600 off of Eduardo Rodriguez.

From Red Sox Notes:

Next up for the Red Sox, it’s the third game of this series Wednesday night.

Right-hander Rick Porcello, fresh off a solid seven innings and a forgettable eighth inning against the Houston Astros, is set to get the ball for Boston while fellow right-hander Aaron Sanchez will do the same for Toronto.

In his career at Rogers Centre, Porcello owns a lifetime 5.47 ERA over 13 games (12 starts) and 72.1 total innings pitched.

Sanchez, meanwhile, has posted a career 3.91 ERA in 20 games (12 starts) and 76 innings against the Red Sox. He is currently 3-4 with a 3.88 ERA and .250 batting average against through 10 starts this season.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:07 PM EDT on NESN. Time to start another winning streak.

 

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Collects First Big League Hit in Blue Jays Debut

While the Red Sox were getting rained out for the second time this week before their series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays, the rest of the American League was much abuzz to kick off the weekend thanks to Vladimir Guerrero Jr., baseball’s top prospect, making his big league debut for the Toronto Blue Jays north of the border Friday.

Son of hall of famer Vladimir Guerrero, the 20-year-old had himself a day to remember, starting with an electric round of BP.

Batting out of the five-hole against the Oakland Athletics, Guerrero may not have filled up the box score, but he provided Blue Jays fans with an atmosphere that hadn’t been experienced at Rogers Centre since the club last made the postseason in 2016. That much was evident by the ovation he received just from fielding a foul ball and tossing it into the stands in the early innings.

In the top half of the fourth of this one, the Dominican native’s defensive abilities were put to the test on a 94 MPH grounder off the bat of A’s outfielder Stephen Piscotty. Guerrero fielded it on the hop and made the out at first with the leaping throw.

Speaking of his arm, Guerrero showed that tool off once again later in the seventh, this time fielding a grounder from Chad Pinder. The 2015 international signee fielded it cleanly, collected the ball, and rocketed it across the diamond just in time to nab the runner at first to preserve Marcus Stroman’s seven shutout inning performance.

On the other side of things, Guerrero did not get on the board until his final at-bat of the night, although he did come close to going bridge twice.

Anyway, in the ninth, with his team knotted up with Oakland at two runs a piece, Vladito got what would end up being the winning rally started with a leadoff opposite field double down the right field line on a 2-2 count to put the go-ahead run in scoring position. First career hit, with many more to come.

Guerrero, who would have represented the winning run, was replaced by Alen Hanson to run in his place, but that wouldn’t really matter with Brandon Drury giving the Blue Jays their 12th win of the year on a two-run walkoff home run.

At the end of the day, Guerrero went 1-for-4 with a double in his major league debut. He faced 17 total pitches, took eight balls, two called strikes, and did not swing and miss once. It’s safe to say it was a debut to remember for the city of Toronto and the country of Canada as a whole.

As for how this relates to the Red Sox, well, the two clubs don’t see each other again until the Red Sox travel north of the border for a four-game series in late May. The Blue Jays do not visit Fenway Park again until June 21st.

So, it will be awhile before we see this phenom up close and personal, but until then, I’m just going to go ahead and enjoy the show.

Happy Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Day, everyone.