Red Sox Wrap: Evan Longoria’s Late Homer Sinks Boston In Loss To Rays

BOSTON — The Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays have played a lot of close games lately, and the outcomes haven’t been kind to Boston.

The Red Sox lost another nailbiter at the hands of the Rays on Tuesday night, blowing a seventh-inning, two-run lead en route to a 4-3 defeat at Fenway Park.

Four of the last five games between Boston and Tampa now have been decided by one run, with the Red Sox going 1-3 in those four contests.

Here’s how this one went down.

GAME IN A WORD
Letdown.

The Red Sox were cruising toward another victory until the Rays combined to score three quick runs over the seventh and eighth innings to steal the W.

IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Evan Longoria crushed a solo homer off Clay Buchholz in the eighth inning.

Buchholz didn’t fare too well in his new role as Boston’s setup man, as Longoria’s massive blast broke a 3-3 tie and proved to be the game-winning score.

ON THE BUMP
— Drew Pomeranz delivered another strong outing that had a rough ending.

The left-hander gave up a run on a pair of hits in the first inning but settled down after that, allowing just three Rays to reach between the second and sixth innings.

With two outs in the seventh, however, Tampa catcher Luke Maile blasted a game-tying, two-run home run off Pomeranz that knocked him out of the ballgame.

Pomeranz allowed three runs on five hits over 6 2/3 innings, striking out eight batters and walking two.

— Matt Barnes entered and walked Logan Forsythe, but catcher Bryan Holaday caught him stealing at second to end the inning.

— Buchholz retired the first batter of the eighth before Longoria launched his 1-2 offering deep into the night.

The converted starter set down the next two Rays he faced, but he now has allowed one run in consecutive appearances and owns a 5.20 ERA.

— Craig Kimbrel surrendered two hits in the ninth but emerged unscathed. He also recorded a strikeout.

IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Rays starter Jake Odorizzi faced just 12 batters through the first four innings, but Hanley Ramirez finally got to him in the fifth by wrapping a 331-foot solo homer around Pesky’s Pole in right field, his 18th of the season.

— David Ortiz broke the deadlock in the sixth with a sacrifice fly. Ramirez then benefited from more good luck when his high pop up to right field fell in for a base hit, scoring Xander Bogaerts from second to make it 3-1 Boston.

— Ramirez carried the load on offense, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs. He was the only Red Sox player with multiple hits.

— Dustin Pedroia picked up right where he left off after missing two games, tallying a hit in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to seven games. He’s now 12-for-16 over his last three contests.

— Chris Young pinch hit for Brock Holt in the seventh inning. He went 0-for-1, striking out swinging and drawing a ninth-inning walk.

— Sandy Leon pinch hit for Holaday in the ninth with runners on first and second but struck out looking to end the game.

— Bogaerts snapped an 0-for-8 streak with a double in the sixth, giving him 500 career hits. He went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts, though.

— Travis Shaw and Jackie Bradley Jr. had especially brutal nights, going a combined 0-for-7 with seven strikeouts.

TWEET OF THE NIGHT
The Red Sox’s bullpen isn’t alone in struggling to shut things down.

Pomeranz in the last inning of his outings with the Sox

5 IP, 12 ERA – 21.60 ERA

Pomeranz in all other innings

46 IP, 11 ER – 2.15 ERA

— Michael Dyer (@Mike_Dyer13) August 31, 2016

UP NEXT
Steven Wright will make his second start since returning from the disabled list in Wednesday’s matinee series finale at Fenway. The Rays will counter with left-hander Drew Smyly. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images

Filed under: Boston Red Sox, Darren Hartwell, Red Sox Wrap, Tampa Bay Rays, Top Stories

Rob Gronkowski’s Reaction To Winning Ron Burton Award Is Perfect Gronk

Contrary to popular belief, Rob Gronkowski does more than just score touchdowns and party like there’s no tomorrow.

The New England Patriots validated as much Tuesday night, presenting their Pro Bowl tight end with the Ron Burton Community Service Award.

Gronk’s reaction was pretty typical of his personality, and pretty perfect too.

Gronk: “Who would have thought five years ago when I was on ESPN drunk all the time that I would win this award?”

— Steve Hewitt (@steve_hewitt) August 31, 2016

It’s also a great point.

The award is named in honor of the late Ron Burton, the first player drafted by the team and a community leader whose widespread charitable work was a model for how a Patriots player can make an impact off the field.

“Rob is just as fun to watch at a community event as he is on the game field,” Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said in a statement. “Giving back to the community is a big part of being ‘Gronk.’ He is engaging with fans of all ages. His gregarious personality makes him one of our greatest ambassadors, especially when spreading cheer to children at local hospitals or schools. We love the devotion and enthusiasm that he shows in the community and are proud to present him with this year’s Ron Burton Community Service Award.”

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images

Filed under: NESN Staff, New England Patriots

Tim Tebow To Red Sox? Dave Dombrowski Not ‘Rushing Out’ To Sign Ex-QB

There’s still a possibility that one Major League Baseball team gives Tim Tebow the chance to play out his baseball dream.

But it appears that team won’t be the Boston Red Sox.

Tebow held a workout Tuesday in front of scouts from 28 MLB teams, including the Red Sox. The former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner clearly has some things to work on, but he displayed impressive pop at the plate as well as some decent athleticism in the outfield.

When asked Tuesday night if Boston would consider bringing on Tebow, however, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski didn’t exactly give a ringing endorsement.

“We did our due diligence,” Dombrowski said during an appearance on NESN’s “Red Sox First Pitch.” “I don’t want to say anything negative because other teams are looking at him, but I don’t think we’ll be rushing out to make a signing.”

It didn’t hurt for the Red Sox to send a representative to Tebow’s workout, but the team doesn’t stand much to gain from bringing in the 29-year-old ex-QB. Tebow likely would face a long road toward reaching the bigs — he reportedly received an offer to start his baseball career in winter ball — and the Red Sox are particularly well-stocked in the outfield, both at the MLB- and minor-league level.

Still, we wouldn’t hate seeing Tebow play at Fenway Park at some point down the line, even if it is in a visitor’s uniform.

What Tebow’s high school coach thinks of his MLB chances >>

H/t to The Boston Herald

Thumbnail photo via Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports Images

Filed under: Boston Red Sox, Darren Hartwell, NFL, Top Stories

DraftKings: Mookie Betts, Yoenis Cespedes Among Tom Caron’s Lineup Picks

If you’re struggling with who to start in your daily fantasy baseball lineup, here’s some advice: an American League MVP candidate is a good place to start.

NESN’s Tom Caron agrees, as Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts is one of TC’s DraftKings picks for Tuesday. Betts has been swinging a hot bat of late, as he owns an eight-game hitting streak and hit his 30th home run of the season Monday night.

Here are TC’s three picks for Tuesday, Aug. 30:
— Mookie Betts, OF, Boston Red Sox
— Yoenis Cespedes, OF, New York Mets
— J.A. Happ, SP, Toronto Blue Jays

Click to play DraftKings daily fantasy baseball>>

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

Filed under: Boston Red Sox, DraftKings, MLB, NESN Staff, Tom Caron, Top Stories

David Ortiz Visits Corn Maze Shaped In His Likeness In Honor Of Retirement

In each and every visiting ballpark the Boston Red Sox have traveled to this season, opposing teams have done something to honor David Ortiz, who is retiring at the end of the season following 20 seasons in the big leagues.

But Big Papi’s never gotten a gift quite like this.

The Davis Mega Maze in Sterling, Mass. partnered with ’47 Brand to carve out a corn maze in the shape of Ortiz’s likeness and with the words “Thanks Big Papi” written in corn as well.

Ortiz maze release

Ortiz was on hand for the grand opening Tuesday, and NESN’s cameras were there to capture the exciting scene.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Ortiz said after seeing the maze for the first time. “It was something that seemed impossible to me to do, but when I started seeing the picture and stuff, I was like ‘Wow, what an amazing job.’”

Check out highlights from the maze and Ortiz’s appearance in the video from “NESN Live,” sponsored by Cross Insurance, in the video above.

Filed under: Big Papi Says Goodbye, Boston Red Sox, Boston Red Sox Video, NESN Live, NESN Staff, NESN Video, Top Stories

Is Red Sox’s Bullpen Fixable? Boston Mulling Solutions For Struggling Unit

BOSTON — From an impressive turnaround in their starting rotation to the continued heroics of MVP candidates David Ortiz and Mookie Betts, the Red Sox have a lot going for them at the moment.

But a stable bullpen is not one of them, and unfortunately, that’s no small problem.

Boston enters Tuesday with a 3.95 bullpen ERA, which ranks 20th in Major League Baseball. Red Sox relievers have allowed at least one run in eight of the team’s last 10 games, their most recent disaster coming in Matt Barnes’ collapse Sunday against the Kansas City Royals.

How concerning is a less-than-stellar relief unit? Two of the last three World Series winners ranked in the top five in bullpen ERA, and the one exception, the 2013 Red Sox, led all postseason teams with a 1.28 playoff ERA during its title run.

Craig Kimbrel has distinguished himself as a playoff-caliber closer of late, but outside of him, a motley crew of Brad Ziegler, Junichi Tazawa, Barnes, Robbie Ross Jr., Fernando Abad, Koji Uehara (currently injured) and Clay Buchholz (once a starter) has been unable to provide much consistency.

Simply put: The Red Sox lack the firepower to lock games down from the seventh inning on.

“I’d love to be able to sit here and say that (innings) seven, eight and nine are outlined, regardless of matchups,” manager John Farrell before Tuesday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays. “We don’t have that bullpen.”

Instead, Farrell has experimented with a number of different late-inning combinations, the latest of which is giving Buchholz the eighth inning. Farrell said Tuesday the 32-year-old converted starter will be Boston’s primary eighth-inning option going forward, with Ziegler occasionally filling the role against predominately left-handed hitting lineups.

“I want Clay to feel like that’s his place in this bullpen right now,” Farrell said.  “… I want to feel comfortable in that spot, because we’re going to lean on him (against) lineups such as Tampa’s or New York’s, where you’ve got a number of right-left combinations in there. We need him to grow into that comfort level of being in that spot.”

Buchholz has been effective in short bursts this season, but watching him labor through a 29-pitch eighth inning Monday night didn’t inspire much confidence.

Ziegler has plenty of late-inning experience, having served as a closer with the Arizona Diamondbacks, so he could be a better option for the eighth-inning role if Buchholz scuffles. Uehara also is expected to return next week and could factor into the seventh or eighth innings.

Either way, it appears help won’t come from the outside; the ship on Jonathan Papelbon seemingly has sailed, and the Red Sox don’t have much in the way of relief help at Triple-A Pawtucket.

That means Farrell likely will continue to mix and match down the stretch, working with what he has to try to preserve leads — and Boston’s current lead in the American League wild card race.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

Filed under: Boston Red Sox, Darren Hartwell, Top Stories

How Did Tim Tebow’s MLB Workout Go? Experts Analyze QB’s Baseball Skills

Tim Tebow’s much-anticipated baseball workout drew mixed reviews.

Tebow, who’s attempting to transition from NFL quarterback to Major League Baseball outfielder at age 29, showcased his skills for MLB scouts Tuesday in Los Angeles. Based on various reports, it sounds like Tebow didn’t embarrass himself, though it also sounds like he didn’t wow too many people, either.

The most impressive aspect of Tebow’s workout, according to many in attendance, was the raw power he displayed during batting practice. A left-handed hitter, Tebow hit eight or nine balls over the fence at USC’s Dedeaux Field — depending on who you ask — and that caught some scouts’ attention.

Tim Tebow hit this ball well out, scout estimated at 430, hit another one over Dedeux Field scoreboard by 20 feet pic.twitter.com/DciJrpFl01

— Taylor Blake Ward (@TaylorBlakeWard) August 30, 2016

Not an MLB scout but that looks like a pretty good swing. Built like the Bash Brothers. pic.twitter.com/DzuTNqKVUa

— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) August 30, 2016

Tim Tebow hit the fourth BP pitch to where I circled the red-dot… uh huh… pic.twitter.com/9Om5gHnA5R

— Taylor Blake Ward (@TaylorBlakeWard) August 30, 2016

(cont on personal scouting report on Tebow) hips stiff, seems to have good hand speed, rotational to swing away, power is a *plus*

— Taylor Blake Ward (@TaylorBlakeWard) August 30, 2016

AL scout was impressed by Tim Tebow’s raw power too, but didn’t have as high-grade when asked, “Wrote him down 65 raw, probably 55 in-game.”

— Taylor Blake Ward (@TaylorBlakeWard) August 30, 2016

Tebow’s offensive prowess apparently wasn’t quite as impressive when he faced live pitching, though. The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner faced former major leaguers David Aardsma and Chad Smith, and he left a lot to be desired.

Tim Tebow faced former Major League, Chad Smith, for live pitching; 1-for-5, single, walk, three groundout, one shallow fly to LF

— Taylor Blake Ward (@TaylorBlakeWard) August 30, 2016

Tim Tebow goes 2-for-6 vs. David Aardsma by my book, last hit would be double off wall in left-center

— Taylor Blake Ward (@TaylorBlakeWard) August 30, 2016

Tim Tebow vs a former big-leaguer’s off-speed stuff pic.twitter.com/kraSUr3YxT

— Greg Beacham (@gregbeacham) August 30, 2016

According to USA TODAY Sports, Tebow — listed at 6-foot-3, 255 pounds by his agents — was clocked in a range of 6.65 to 6.82 seconds in the 60-yard dash. That reportedly ranges from “average” to “above average” on the major league scale.

Tim Tebow running 6.76 in 60-yard dash pic.twitter.com/urIzp4da8W

— Taylor Blake Ward (@TaylorBlakeWard) August 30, 2016

Tebow probably needs to improve his defense in the coming weeks and months.

NL scout says Tim Tebow is “fringe but servicable” outfielder, would be okay to put in left field, arm lacks true carry, 45-grade

— Taylor Blake Ward (@TaylorBlakeWard) August 30, 2016

Tim Tebow taking reps in center field, not getting good reads, routes are a little sporadic pic.twitter.com/To34YCyG9d

— Taylor Blake Ward (@TaylorBlakeWard) August 30, 2016

Tim Tebow throwing from right field pic.twitter.com/2AYsWIhyTW

— Taylor Blake Ward (@TaylorBlakeWard) August 30, 2016

Tim Tebow, right fielder. @MLB @MLBNetwork pic.twitter.com/P1swdho8cu

— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) August 30, 2016

No one really knew what to expect going into Tuesday’s workout, which was attended by scouts from 28 major league organizations, according to CBS Sports. So all things considered, it’s actually rather impressive he was able to turn a few heads with his performance, even if his shortcomings were apparent to those who know baseball.

“I thought he was OK. Better than I expected, to be honest,” one anonymous major league scout told USA TODAY Sports. “For not having played as long as he had, I thought he did OK.

“That’s a big dude, for as fast as he can run. The power was impressive, but I wish he could have translated it maybe a little better (against live pitching).”

Tim Tebow story will be up on @BaseballAmerica tonight, consensus: he’s better at baseball than we thought pic.twitter.com/JKsTgJfg1q

— Taylor Blake Ward (@TaylorBlakeWard) August 30, 2016

In fact, a few teams might even be interested in rolling the dice on the Tebow experiment.

representative says they’re hoping that Tim Tebow will sign soon enough to get into instructional league, which is usually mid-October

— Taylor Blake Ward (@TaylorBlakeWard) August 30, 2016

If nothing else, the trademark positive attitude clearly translates across all sports for Tebow.

“When did it become a bad thing to pursue your dreams?” – Tim Tebow on people who criticize his decision to pursue baseball

— Taylor Blake Ward (@TaylorBlakeWard) August 30, 2016

Filed under: MLB, NFL, Ricky Doyle, Top Stories

Patriots 75-Man Roster Cut Tracker: Dion Lewis Placed On PUP List

FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots had to whittle their roster down to 75 players by Tuesday at 4 p.m. They went into the day with 80 players on their 90-man roster.

The Patriots released offensive tackle Keavon Milton, a source told NESN.com. The Boston Herald first reported the news.

Tight end Steven Scheu also has been released, a source told WEEI.com’s Christopher Price.

Linebacker Ramon Humber also has been released, a source told the Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels.

As expected, the Patriots have placed running back Dion Lewis on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, a sourse told ESPN’s Field Yates. He will be eligible to return to action in Week 7.

The Patriots also placed offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer on the reserve/PUP list, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. He’ll also be eligible to return in Week 7, though he’s not expected to play this season.

The Patriots are now at the 75-man roster limit. Their next cutdown date is Sept. 3, when they must whittle their roster down to 53 players.

UPDATE (6:05 p.m. ET): The Patriots have confirmed each of the five aforementioned moves.

Thumbnail photo via Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports Images

Filed under: Doug Kyed, New England Patriots, Top Stories