Butterfield hopes Red Sox run with spring training lessons

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Butterfield hopes Red Sox run with spring training lessons

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield had a group of veteran players kneeling on the grass in foul territory near third base. Butterfield was hihgly animated in his delivery to the group. Manager John Farrell has said baserunning will be a priority this spring training, a message Butterfield was trying to impart.

I try to, he said. I even explained to the players, hopefully you dont get sick of me but spring training is a time when you prepare for the season, who youre going to be, create an identity. So, yeah, the baserunning is a lot of effort, its a lot of intelligence, and its a lot of attentiveness. Sometimes thats a tough sell with players because thats not what makes them money. Hitting balls in the seats, hitting the ball, catching it, striking people out, thats what makes these guys money. And more power to them. But this is a phase of the game where you dont really go to the bargaining table with it. Its for us.

The Red Sox as a team stole 97 bases, getting caught 31 times for a 76 percent success rate. Not bad, though they had more stolen bases than just four other American League teams and were 20th overall.

But its not just about stealing bases.

Its important for us as coaches and John wants us to try to sell the importance because we want to be a real good baserunning team, Butterfield said. And we try to impart to them that during the course of the season were not always going to be swinging the bats. This guy may be struggling or were facing an outstanding pitching staff where now how are you going to win games if youre not swinging like youre capable of?

"Well, you got to catch the ball consistently, you got to pitch, and if we have that extra vehicle of being able to manufacture something with our legs, well be a better club for it. We try to grind the importance of baserunning to help us win games. Theyre going to get sick of hearing me within the next 10 days but Im going to keep going.

Its an aspect of the game that can be undervalued. Butterfield knows if he can get certain people to buy into the philosophy, it can be an easier sell overall.

Without a doubt, he said. And I think that everybody in baseball has the intentions of doing everything right, running the bases right, going hard 90 feet, always going into second base and sliding, threatening the next base. But somewhere along the lines when one of your veteran players, one of your core guys, whether hes hurt or hes mad and doesnt give that good effort, then all of a sudden, the next guy follows suit.

Theres certain people on your club that the young and guys and veteran guys look up to follow, I feel like on this club -- I even mentioned to the guys yesterday -- Im feeling real good about the possibilities of us being an outstanding baserunning club not because of our speed. But because of the veteran leadership that we have, I feel like we have guys who can carry the torch, guys are going to look to, whether theyre young guys or veteran guys, theyre going to look and they say, 'Jeez, I better fall in line because this is the way this guy does it, this is the way they want them to do it, so Im going to follow suit.' So I feel good about that.

Quotes, notes and stars: Ramirez knows error 'can't happen'

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Quotes, notes and stars: Ramirez knows error 'can't happen'

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels ofAnaheim

Quotes:

"I tried to get two (outs) before I got one. That can't happen." - Hanley Ramirez on his throwing error which cost the Red Sox the game.

"Executing pitches - that's the name of the game." - David Price on improvement he showed from his last start.

"Fourth time through the order, middle of the lineup. . . Price had done his job. In a one-run game, we felt it was best to start a clean inning with a reliever." - John Farrell after lifting David Price after eight innings and 108 pitches.

Notes:

* Reliever Brad Ziegler was charged with the loss for the second straight game.

* Each of the last seven Red Sox losses has been by one or two runs.

* Dustin Pedroia has reached base in 31 consecutive games.

* The Red Sox four-game losing streak is their longest of the season.

* The Sox are now 9-23 in their last 32 meetings with the Angels.

* David Price did not allow a run for the second time this season.

Stars:

1) David Price

After a stretch of shaky outings, Price did his job with eight scoreless innings, getting 14 outs on groundouts while walking just one.

2) Jered Weaver

At times, the radar gun made Weaver's pitches look like softball offerings. But mixing junk, he held the Sox to a single run over 5 1/3 innings

3) Mookie Betts

He had just one hit - single in the eighth - but his sacrifice fly in the third produced the only run of the night.

First impressions: Ziegler can't finish Price's strong start

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First impressions: Ziegler can't finish Price's strong start

First impressions from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

1) David Price pitched in the truest sense

Price wasn't necessarily overpowering with only six strikeouts in eight innings, but he succeeded in keeping the ball down in the zone, resulting in a ton of groundouts.

In eight innings, the Angels produced just two flouts to the outfield, both of them routine.

Otherwise, Price deftly mixed his changeup, slider and two-seamer to produce ground balls. His location was more precise and he induced weak contact in at-bat after at-bat.

 

2) The danger of a closer like Brad Ziegler was on display

The throwing error by Hanley Ramirez resulted in two runs scoring but Ziegler allowed three base hits to set the stage.

Ziegler doesn't get a lot of swing-and-miss with his sinker; what he gets is a lot of balls put in play. When things are going well, that results in groundouts; when they're not, it means baserunners and strange things happening.

As inconsistent as Craig Kimbrel has been in some non-save situations, he at least has the ability to record strikeouts and keep balls out of play.  That's not the case with Zieger, as the Red Sox learned the hard way in Anaheim Thursday night.

3) The Red Sox wisely took advantage of Jered Weaver on the bases

Weaver's high leg kick and reliance on off-speed pitches make for a slow delivery time to the plate. Dustin Pedroia would have easily stole second in the first but made the mistake of going into his slide too far ahead of the bag, and though initially ruled safe, was deemed out after a replay challenge.

In the sixth, Xander Bogaerts, was more successful in his stolen base. Neither steal led to a run, but the Sox did put some additional pressure on Weaver