Francona didn't like all he saw under Valentine

904983.jpg

Francona didn't like all he saw under Valentine

Terry Francona isn't sure how much blame Bobby Valentine deserves for the Red Sox' stinker of a season.

"When you have a record, I think it's an organizational record, whether it's a success or a failure," the former Red Sox manager and current ESPN analyst said Thursday on 'SportsCenter'. "I think it always has to be 'we', and I think general manager Ben Cherington kind of owned up to that earlier. It can't just be one person."

But he saw some things he didn't agree with this year.

Like constant airing of dirty laundry.

"The one thing that bothered me a little bit was that everything seemed to play out in public," he said. "There's a lot of stuff that happens in clubhouses during a season -- and that's not the worst thing -- but you find a way to fight through them and make it better. When you do it publicly, it's harder to make it better. And that seemed to happen quite frequently."

And Valentine's complaints about some of his coaches . . . some of whom worked under Francona.

"Those are some coaches with some pretty high integrity," said Francona, who later added: "Different strokes for different strokes. If I had a problem with a coach, I would go tell them. I'm not sure I would choose to do it on the radio. But, again, everybody's personalty's different."

Now that it's over, Francona isn't sure what Valentine's legacy in Boston will end up being.

"I don't know," he said. "And I think part of that will depend on how he decides to go out. Again, there's going to be the post-mortems, and I know all about that. That's not fun in Boston. Because they always want to know the reasons, and if they don't know they'll make some up."

But one thing he's sure of: Valentine's successor isn't walking into a talent wasteland.

"I . . . think the glass is way more half-full than probably the normal Red Sox fan feels today," he said.

"You start off right away with Felix Doubront, Lester, Buchholz, John Lackey -- I know they don't want to hear that, but Lackey's coming back after Tommy John surgery -- that's four pitchers, right now, that I'll take my chances with . . . Andrew Bailey comes back healthy. Dustin Pedroia is a tremendous player. Will Middlebrooks is a star in the making. Jacoby Ellsbury, a year ago was second in the MVP voting . . . And they have some money to work with . . .

"The glass, in my opinion, should be half-full."

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 'a pitch or two from finishing the job' vs. Rays

rays_luke_maile_083016.jpg

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 'a pitch or two from finishing the job' vs. Rays

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay Rays:

QUOTES:

"Part of that job is, when you miss, you have to miss to the extreme.'' - John Farrell on the role of eighth-inning reliever Clay Buchholz, who mislocated a fastball to Evan Longoria.

"We're putting ourselves in position to close games out and yet we've found ourselves a pitch or two from finishing the job.'' - Farrell on the team's bullpen woes.

"Fastball. I was trying to throw it up-and-away, and I pulled it, more inner-third. That's a spot where he hits the ball a long way.'' - Clay Buchholz on the game-winning homer by Longoria.

 

NOTES:

* The Rays and Sox have played 21 one-run games in the lasr four seasons and four in the last week.

* David Ortiz's sacrifice fly in the sixth was his 26th go-ahead RBI, fourth-best in the A.L.

* Xander Bogaerts collected his 500th career hit, and became the fifth Red Sox player to reach that milestone before turning 24.

* Brock Holt's double in the fifth lifted his average to .337 with two outs.

* Hanley Ramirez's home run was his first against Tampa Bay since May 21, 2011 when he was with the Marlins.

* Ramirez has 19 extra-base hits in the last 27 home games.

* Dustin Pedroia was 1-for-3 and and is now 15-for-his-last-19 at Fenway.

* The Sox dropped to 7-37 when they score three runs or fewer.

* Brad Ziegler was unavailable, suffering from the flu.

 

STARS:

1) Evan Longoria

It wouldn't be a Rays win over the Red Sox without the third baseman doing some damage. Sure enough, he smoked a tape-measure shot over everything in left in the eighth to provide the winning margin for the visitors.

2) Luke Maile

Drew Pomeranz struck him out twice, but Maile more than got revenge in the seventh with a two-run homer into the Monster Seats to tie the game.

3) Hanley Ramirez

The first baseman had a three-hit night, including a solo homer and a run-scoring single, accounting for two of the three Red Sox runs.

 

First impressions: Longoria makes Buchholz pay in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

red_sox_rays_buchholz_longoria_083016.jpg

First impressions: Longoria makes Buchholz pay in Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Rays

BOSTON - First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay:

* There's a steep learning curve for a set-up man, as Clay Buchholz discovered.

Although he's pitched out of the bullpen for the last couple of months, most of those appearances weren't of the high leverage variety. More often than not, the Sox had a sizeable lead, or Buchholz was brought in earlier in the game. Or they were behind and he was mopping up.

But Tuesday was different. The Rays had battled back to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh, and after Matt Barnes got the final out in that inning, Buchholz came in to start the eighth.

After getting Kevin Kiermaier on a groundout to lead off the inning, Buchholz threw a four-seamer to Evan Longoria that the Tampa Bay third baseman launched toward the Charles River, clearing everything and putting the Rays up by a run.

It was a reminder that in late innings of close games, one pitch, with missed location, can really hurt.

 

* Hanley Ramirez knocked in two runs. He was sort of lucky.

In the fifth inning, Ramirez hit a twisting opposite-field fly ball down the right field line. It landed just past the Pesky Pole in right, measured at 307 feet, the shortest homer in baseball this season, according to ESPN Stats and Information.

Then, an inning later, Ramirez hit a pop fly that drifted into shallow right. Three Rays defenders converged -- first baseman, second baseman and right fielder -- and somehow the ball dropped in between all three for a run-scoring single.

Two cheap hits, two RBI.

At times, you'll see hitters mash the ball, only to have it hit right at someone for an out. Rotten luck, and all.

Tuesday night, Ramirez got to experience the flip side of that.

 

* Drew Pomeranz had an excellent outing -- until his final pitch of the night.

Through 6 2/3 innings, Pomeranz had allowed a single run on four hits while walking two and striking out eight.

He had retired 10 of the previous 11 hitters he had faced, and while he was approaching his 100th pitch, showed no evidence of tiring.

Then, Pomernaz hung a curveball to No. 9 hitter Luke Maile -- with two strikes, no less -- and Maile hit into the Monster Seats for a game-tying, two-run homer.

It was the first homer on a curveball allowed by Pomeranz in 153 innings this season, and all of a sudden, the outing wasn't so special.