Red Sox fall to Indians, 1-0, swept in series

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Red Sox fall to Indians, 1-0, swept in series

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

CLEVELAND -- The misery continued for the Red Sox Wednesday, shutout by the Cleveland Indians, 1-0, for their sixth straight loss in as many games to open the season, matching their worst start since 1945.

The two teams were locked in a scoreless pitcher's duel until the Indians broke through in the eighth. Daniel Bard walked No. 9 hitter Adam Everett, who stole second and took third on a sacrifice bunt.

Asdrubal Cabrera then perfectly executed a suicide squeeze bunt, scoring Everett from third.

The Sox wasted a terrific outing from starter Jon Lester, who limited the Indians to three hits while walking three and striking out nine. Lester's outing was the first quality start of the year.

The final out of the game when pinch-runner Darnell McDonald make too wide a turn at second and was cut down by Everett.
Star of the Game: Asdrubal Cabrera.

On Wednesay, Cabrera blasted a back-breaking three-run homer against the Red Sox to put the game away. Thursday afternoon, he was much more subtle, executing a suicide squeeze in the bottom of the eighth to account for the only run of the game.

Cabrera had struck out in each of his three previous at-bats against Jon Lester, but got the bunt down when he had to against Daniel Bard.

Honorable Mention: Jon Lester.

Lester pitched like a true No. 1 when he needed to -- seven shutout innings, three hits allowed, nine strikeouts --- though it didn't result in a win.

This was a different Lester than the Sox saw on Opening Day when he gave up three homers and didn't record a single strikeout. His velocity was better today as he did everything he could get the Sox into the win column.

One good thing from Thursday's start: it appears as though Lester has solved his early-season woes. In 2009, he didn't pitch well until mid-May; In 2010, he turned it around after four bad starts. This year? It took just one.

Goat of the Game: Daniel Bard.

Bard has now pitched in three games this season and has lost two of them. The first was Opening Day when he allowed a two-run pinch-double to David Murphy, which kicked up chalk on the foul line. Thursday, he came into a scoreless game and promptly walked the leadoff hitter -- No. 9 in the Cleveland order -- to begin the unraveling.

Turning Point: In a 1-0 loss, there are no shortage of key plays, including the Red Sox failure to break through with two runners in scoring position and two out in the eighth.

But the leadoff walk to Adam Everett in the bottom of the eighth has to be the choice here. Everett then stole second, took third on a sacrifice and scored the only run of the afternoon when Cabrera got down a perfect suicide squeeze.

By the Numbers: 1-for-14 - combined totals from Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon for the Red Sox with runners in scoring position.

Quote of Note: "We're frustrated as hell right now. We never thought we'd be here (0-6), but we are, so we've got to deal with it.'' -- Kevin Youkilis.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Marcus Smart will get start for Celtics for injured Isaiah Thomas

Marcus Smart will get start for Celtics for injured Isaiah Thomas

As expected, Marcus Smart will get the start for the Boston Celtics tonight against the Orlando Magic in place of the injured Isaiah Thomas. 

Thomas, who leads the Celtics (12-9) in scoring (26.0) and assists (6.2) this season, suffered a right groin injury in Boston’s 107-106 loss at Houston on Monday.

Head coach Brad Stevens explained his decision a few minutes ago.

“He’s started a lot of games here in the past as a point guard,” Stevens told reporters. “He’s basically our sixth starter. It wasn’t one that I had to think a ton about.”

Starting Smart also allows second-year guard Terry Rozier to continue in his role coming off the bench. 

Whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, Smart’s production has been consistent. 

In the five games he has started this season, he has averaged 10.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. 

His numbers off the bench are almost identical with Smart averaging 9.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists as a reserve. 

Stevens also mentioned that Amir Johnson would be back in the starting lineup in place of Jonas Jerebko. Earlier in the day, Stevens told reporters the decision to start Jerebko on Monday was strictly because of the matchup with Houston. 

“We have to be able to be flexible in doing that,” Stevens said. “Houston plays four guards. We didn’t feel like we could defend them unless we switch one through four. I thought he (Jerebko) did a pretty good job. This (Orlando) team is different than Houston other than both are super-hot.”

Orlando (10-12) has won four of its last five games in part because of its size, strength and versatility along the frontline which includes Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo and Nikola Vucevic who now comes off the bench. 

And while the Celtics have benefited heavily from the play of their guards, obviously that plan will be amended tonight with Thomas out. 

“He (Thomas) generates a lot in the open offense what we call flow, spread offense,” Stevens said. “So some of those type of things you may not generate at the same rate. But certainly there are other ways that we’ll look to play when he’s not in the game normally, or when we’re trying to play through bigs in the post. You have different ways to play within all your schemes. Hopefully we can play to each other’s strengths and go from there.”