After another loss, all Buchholz can do is look towards 2013

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After another loss, all Buchholz can do is look towards 2013

BOSTON In a rematch of his last outing, Clay Buchholz was opposed by the Rays Cy Young contender David Price. In his last game, Buchholz escaped with a no-decision while the Red Sox suffered the loss in Tampa Bay on Thursday. Buchholz was not as fortunate Tuesday night at Fenway Park, as he took the loss as the Sox again fell to the Rays, 5-2.

Buchholz went six innings, giving up five runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks with five strikeouts. His record fell to 11-7 while his ERA rose to 4.22.

The Rays did all their damage in two innings. After a 1-2-3 first inning, Buchholz walked Evan Longoria and Luke Scott to lead off the second Scott on four pitches. Jeff Keppinger followed that with a first-pitch home run giving the Rays all the runs they would need.

In the sixth, though, Tampa Bay added two more runs. After striking out Scott to open the inning, Buchholz gave up a back-to-back singles to Keppinger and Matt Joyce, before getting Carlos Pena to hit into a fielders choice, retiring Joyce and sending Keppinger to third. Keppinger scored on a Jose Molinas single to left with Pena scoring on an error by Daniel Nava.

I thought Clay was really good, said manager Bobby Valentine. The second inning, first time in a long time walked two guys in a row. Just didnt have a good feel for any of his pitches and then threw one down the middle that put us down 3-0. But other than that he was really good until we didnt turn the double play and he left one up to Molina, a couple runs.

Price earned the win, pitching a complete game to improve to 19-5 with a 2.56 ERA. He recorded a season-high 13 strikeouts, one shy of his career high.

Just one of those nights, Buchholz said. Didnt really have a feel for the command of pitches that I usually have over the past couple of months. Fastballs in the area that I didn't want to throw them in. One of those games. Havent felt that way since all the trouble was going on early in the season and it was time it happened sooner or later. You want to go out there and win but when you dont have a feel for a pitch that you want to throw for a strikeits tough to go out there and win and play against a team two times in a row.

Buchholz left his last start after seven innings and just 94 pitches with soreness in his back. He said that was not an issue on Tuesday.

It has been a mixed season for Buchholz. He tied his career high with his 28th start on Tuesday, and has pitched a career high 187 23 innings with 127 strikeouts. He spent time on the DL. Buchholz has lost a career-high four straight decisions, going back to Aug. 22, a span of seven starts. In his previous 11 starts, he had gone 7-1.

I feel good, he said. Thats the best part about it. My body feels strong. I dont feel hampered in any fashion as far as my shoulder or elbow being tired. I feel good, yeah. I mean, I would have liked to have gotten to that point of 200 innings but doesnt look like Im going to make it.

Id have been satisfied if I started the way I wanted to start, he said. Numbers in this game, thats how everybody determines if youve had a bad year. I felt like I did a lot better than a lot of people thought I was going to do after the rough start, so if I can just build off that and be that ready coming in spring training next year and start of the season thatll be better.

This year as a whole will leave a sour taste in a lot of guys mouth to know that you dont want to be at that point again. Its taught everybody in this clubhouse to be prepared and do what they have to do to be ready for spring next year and the season.

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

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Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.

The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.

The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.

Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.

Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.

And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.

But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.

“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told CSNNE.com before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.

“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”

Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.

“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to CSNNE.com “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.

“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”