Gonzalez not happy to be pulled

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Gonzalez not happy to be pulled

BOSTON -- When manager Bobby Valentine removed Adrian Gonzalez for pinch-runner Che-Hsuan Lin in the sixth inning Saturday night, the move appeared curious to most observers.

Gonzalez had just singled, putting runners at first and second with two outs. Dustin Pedroia, who led off the inning with a walk and went to second on David Ortizs single, was thrown out on Gonzalezs single to center as Rays center fielder B.J. Upton fired a perfect throw to cut down Pedroia trying to score.

Lin then replaced Gonzalez.

One batter later, Will Middlebrooks single scored Ortiz for the first run of the game.

Although Gonzalez has been struggling lately (the single made him 9 for his last 45, .200, with 14 strikeouts, actually raising his average one point to .269), removing his bat from the lineup in favor of an unproven rookie was perplexing.

After the game, it was to Gonzalez, too.

You've got to talk to Bobby, said Gonzalez. He's the boss.

"I thought it was going to be a one-run game, and I didn't want that one run to happen to be a ball that fell somewhere that he wasn't going to get to, Valentine said.

"He's not happy with it. It's a total roll of the dice. We're playing the whole game wondering exactly what we have there. I'm confident, but I don't want to learn the hard way. And the hard way is always with a loss.

"Like we always say, we don't know if they're going to hit it to him, but we always know that he's going to get up.

"And he said, 'That at-bat in the ninth is going to be a big one.' And I said, 'It's probably going to be in the eighth, and you're right. I hope we don't need it. I hope we need it. I hope we win 1-0.' And as it turned out, it was 2-1 when his bat came out."

It all worked out when Jarrod Saltalamacchia, pinch-hitting for Marlon Byrd with one out and Daniel Nava on second in the ninth, hit the first walk-off home run of his career.

First impressions of Red Sox’ 2-1 loss to Rays

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First impressions of Red Sox’ 2-1 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- First Impressions from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field:

 

* When the guy who was 0-for-34 produces the go-ahead RBI, it's probably not your day.

The Red Sox and Rays were tied 1-1 in the seventh when Drew Pomeranz singled to lead off the inning. That brought Mikie Mahtook, hitless in his last 34 at-bats to the plate.

Naturally, Mahtook roped a line-drive double to left field, scoring Steve Souza Jr. all the way from first basIt was that kind of day for the Red Sox, who were 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position and stranded five baserunners.

For a team that still leads the majors in runs scored, the Red Sox have shown an uncanny ability to go cold at the plate.

On Thursday afternoon, that happened again, while the most unlikely hero for Tampa Bay came through in an improbable spot.

 

* The Red Sox' struggles with the bases loaded is almost comical.

It happened again.

In the sixth inning, the Red Sox loaded the bases with no out. Mookie Betts then hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring one run. Hanley Ramirez then walked, re-loading the bases, this time with one out.

But Jackie Bradley Jr. then swung at the first pitch and hit into an inning-ending, rally-killing 4-6-3 double play.

In two plate appearances with the bases loaded, the Sox failed to get a hit.

The Sox are hitting .216 with the bases loaded (24-for-111), ranking them 14th in the American League. Only Seattle and Detroit have had more bases-loaded opportunities, and yet the Red Sox rank in the second half in runs scored in such situations.

 

* Drew Pomeranz is showing no signs of innings fatigue

True, Pomeranz failed to provide a shutdown inning in the sixth after the Red Sox had gotten him a run in the top of the inning.

Still, Pomeranz pitched into the seventh and allowed just two runs while striking out a season-high 11 batters.

In his past five starts, he's compiled a 2.37 ERA, and both the power to his fastball and the sharpness to his curve offer no evidence that he's hit any sort of wall despite already establishing a career high at the major league level with five weeks remaining in the season.

     

 

 

Thursday’s Red Sox-Rays lineups: Benintendi (DL), Ortiz (day off) out

Thursday’s Red Sox-Rays lineups: Benintendi (DL), Ortiz (day off) out

David Ortiz and Andrew Benintendi are of of the lineup as the Red Sox close out their four-game series, and 11-game road trip, with a matinee (1:10 p.m.) against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

Benintendi was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday. He sustained a sprained knee while running the bases in the seventh inning of an eventual 11-inning loss to the Rays on Wednesday night. He had MRI Thursday morning and the Red Sox medical staff will review the results when the team returns to Boston. 

It’s a day off for Ortiz, who will be replaced at DH by Hanley Ramirez, who had the night off Wednesday. Travis Shaw starts at first base.

With Benintendi out, Chris Young, who came off the DL on Monday, will start in left field. Left-hander Drew Pomeranz (10-9, 2.95 ERA) is on the mound for the Red Sox, who are trying to take three of four from the Rays to finish the trip 8-3. Right-hander Jake Odorizzi (8-5, 3.63) starts for the Rays. 

RED SOX

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Xander Bogaerts SS

Mookie Betts RF

Hanley Ramirez DH

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Chris Young LF

Aaron Hill 3B

Travis Shaw 1B

Bryan Holaday C

Drew Pomeranz LHP

 

RAYS

Logan Forsythe 2B

Kevin Kiermaier CF

Evan Longoria 3B

Brad Miller 1B

Matt Duffy SS

Logan Morrison DH

Scott Souza RF

Mike Mahtook LF

Luke Maile C

Jake Odorizzi RHP