With the Red Sox well out of contention in the American League playoff standings, Boston welcomed in Wild Card hopefuls, the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend. Embracing their role as spoilers, the Red Sox took 2 of 3 games in the weekend series, and kept the Jays 5 games back of a Wild Card berth. Friday night’s game offered perhaps the most exciting contest of the series, as the Red Sox tied the score at 6 with a 3-run rally in the 8th inning. After Toronto tallied 2 runs in the top half of the 10th to take a 8-6 lead, Boston again rallied to tie the score. Later in the inning Yoenis Cespedes sent the Fenway Faithful home happy, after he launched a bases loaded walk-off single to center field, and secured the 9-8 victory for Boston. While Saturday’s game didn’t offer the theatrics of Friday night’s bout, the Red Sox kept the momentum going. Clay Buchholz toed the rubber for Boston, and tossed yet another encouraging outing. Fresh off a complete game shutout in his previous start, the lanky right-hander tossed 6.1 innings of 2 run baseball, and allowed just 4 hits while collecting 5 strike outs and 2 walks. In support of the 30-year old, the Red Sox offense pushed across single runs in the first 4 innings of the game, including RBI doubles from Yoenis Cespedes and Christian Vazquez. While Toronto did manage to whittle the deficit down to just one run after Colby Rasmus’s two-run shot off Craig Breslow, Boston’s pen was able to preserve a 4-3 win. With a sweep in their sights, Boston sent rookie starter Rubby De La Rosa to the hill on Sunday afternoon. In 4 innings of work, the 24 year old allowed 7 hits and 2 walks, before being lifted due to a high pitch count. De La Rosa’s only blemish in his short stint on the mound loomed large however, as Joes Bautista’s 3-run shot in the 5th inning proved to be the difference in a 3-1 run Red Sox loss. However, Stephen Wright did provide a silver lining for Boston, as the newly-recalled knuckleballer tossed 5 innings of 2-hit shutout baseball. Boston will wrap up their brief two-series homestand on Monday, with a 3-game set against the first place Baltimore Orioles.
- The Red Sox didn’t just sign Rusney Castillo because he’s a good player, they signed him because he’s a good player at a very thin position. To put it into perspective, current Blue Jays’ bench bat Colby Rasmus, and his fellow teammate Melky Cabrera will headline the center field free agent market this winter. Thus, Boston’s decision to dole out a lucrative deal for an “unproven” player makes even more sense. (Benched Blue Jays outfielder Rasmus shows how meager free-agent offerings will be)
- After making brief stops in both single-A and double-A, Cuban phenom Rusney Castillo will join the triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox on Tuesday. The 27-year old’s has enjoyed moderate success in his short time in American professional baseball so far, but John Farrell stressed that Castillo’s time in the minors is more about mechanics than results. With Castillo moving rapidly through the ranks, his debut in Boston seems to be right around the corner. (Castillo to move to PawSox on Tuesday)
- A season ago, the Red Sox could have justifiably added rookie left-hander Drake Britton to their postseason roster. However, Boston’s glut of solid, established pen arms forbid that from happening. After being left off Boston’s October line-up, and later getting demoted to triple-A after a halfway decent spring, the southpaw’s confidence was shot. But as the the 25-year old watched his ERA approach 7.00 during his first year as a relief arm, Britton decide to tune out negative mental thoughts that possessed his mind. Since then, Britton has pitched well, and just recently earned a promotion to Boston. (Left-hander Drake Britton running out of time: “I want to be with the Red Sox”)
- Out of all of Boston’s young arms that have circulated through the majors this season, Rubby De La Rosa has perhaps been the most encouraging. While the right-hander hasn’t dominated the league by any means, he’s shown poise and maturity with his arsenal of pitches, and figures to be a part of the Red Sox staff in 2015. Including Sunday afternoon’s short outing, the 25-year old holds a 3.89 ERA in 88 innings pitched. (Rubby De La Rosa building strong foundation for 2015 season)
- Jackie Bradley rejoined the Red Sox on Saturday, after a short two week stint with the Pawtucket Red Sox. While he only played 14 games with the Paw Sox, the former first round pick’s struggles at the plate seemed to follow him. Bradley hit just .212 with 5 RBI and a home run in just under 70 plate appearances with Pawtucket. The 24-year old will need to fight for playing time in the Red Sox outfield, as Boston currently houses 7 outfielders on their major league roster. (Red Sox recall Jackie Bradley Jr. from Pawtucket)
- Tweet of the day: I’ll take that action