Haggerty: Signs are there that Sox are giving up season

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Haggerty: Signs are there that Sox are giving up season

CLEVELAND So this is what happens when a baseball team gives up all pretense of hope for a season, or caring about how theyre perceived.

Sure there were still angry competitors raging against the dying of the 2012 Red Sox dream. Dustin Pedroia practically had hot, piping steam coming out of his ears as he barked out a request for reporters to hurry up and ask him whatever questions were coming his way after his first career game as a designated hitter.

Pedroia had a pair of hits and scored a run in Bostons 5-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night at Progressive Field, and his hitting tear continued for another day as the little infielder played in his 14th straight game.

But he wasnt able to get up with a chance to tie the game in the seventh inning when Pedro Ciriaco and Carl Crawford ran into a rare 6-5-6-4 double play that killed a potential rally what was then a tight one-run game.

It was Ciriacos mistake in being over-aggressive attempting to go second-to-third on a fairly routine infield ground ball, and he appeared to be wearing the burden of the loss following the game.

I thought the ball was going to pass him, so I went and he made a nice play, said Ciriaco. I should have waited to see if it went through. I made a mistake.

Its an easily forgivable miscue from a minor league middle infielder thats hitting .341 for the Sox, and has consistently been one of the best stories during a sunken regular season. Ciriaco is not the problem with his baseball team, but his gaffe helped slap the Sox with their third loss in a row and sank them to three games under .500 for the first time.

Wearing that kind of substandard record and consistently letting games slip through their fingers in mid-August has brought some harsh realities to most of the Sox players. They know the season is over, and that winning streak their shiny, happy manager keeps talking about simply isnt coming.

There were looks of resignation on many of the Sox players faces as they chewed up corn on the cob, picked at the postgame spread and shuffled out of the Cleveland visitors clubhouse. Its the same clubhouse that some of these players strutted through five years ago with World Series confidence, but that was truly a long time ago.

There were others that just dont seem to care about wins or losses anymore.

Like John Lackey as he apparently needs to travel with the team and work with trainer Mike Reinold while recovering from Tommy John surgery a fairly standard rehab that literally thousands of pitchers have come back from stronger-than-ever over the last 30 years.

But for whatever reason the underachieving righty needs to travel with the team even though he wont be throwing even one measly pitch for them.

Lackey was so busted up after the latest defeat that he was strutting around the clubhouse with a can of Bud Light in each hand, or what is known as double-fisting on every college campus in the history of mankind.

So much for the Bobby Valentine ban on alcohol in the Sox clubhouse that was implemented during spring training.

For a guy that was at the epicenter of last years chicken and beer shenanigans and somebody that isnt expected to help out this years team in any way, shape or form it was another clear case of some Sox players that just dont care anymore.

Not all.

Not even most.

But instead its a few rotten apples that are ruining the bunch as they continue to infect a team thats trying to shake its past reputation.

They dont care about the ultimate fate of this years team, and thats been obvious in the consistently bogus results.

They clearly dont care to protect reputations they feel were sullied when the truth about last years fractured, flawed squad came to light.

The conventional thinking was that Lackey would be removed from the equation after he underwent offseason elbow surgery, and would rehab in Fort Myers or at home.

But instead hes essentially morphed into Barney from the Simpsons hanging around the team with an 82.5 million contract and no accountability of any kind.

It probably shouldnt be surprising in the end, however.

Why should players that suffered no real punishment for last years misdeeds feel like theyre anything but bulletproof when they do the exact same things this year?

The Red Sox had a chance over the winter and again at the trade deadline -- to sweep out the problem children, and jettison the I Like Beer backup singers to parts unknown.

They didnt do it and that same swaggering indifference threatens a group of young players trying to do the right thing while the regular seasons walls are already closing around them.

There was a lot of talk that things would be different about this years group of Sox players. But action speaks louder than words, and theyre screaming same old, same old as the Sox sink back toward the bottom of the AL East with the second-highest payroll in all of Major League Baseball.

Wednesday's Red Sox-Rockies lineup: Ramirez back at first base

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Wednesday's Red Sox-Rockies lineup: Ramirez back at first base

BOSTON -- Hanley Ramirez had to come out of Tuesday night's game after getting hit in the foot with a pitch, but fears that he'd be sidelined for a while were unfounded.

Ramirez is back in the lineup tonight, at first base and batting fifth as always, as the Red Sox host the Rockies in the second game of a three-game series. In addition, Travis Shaw -- who was held out of Tuesday's starting lineup because of a minor hand injury but who came in as Ramirez's replacement after the HBP -- is back at third base, hitting seventh.

Jackie Bradley Jr. has been moved up to sixth as John Farrell continues to search for ways to make sure Bradley isn't pitched around. Bradley will be attempting to extend his hitting streak to 29 tonight.

The lineups:

ROCKIES:
Charlie Blackmon CF
DJ LeMahieu 2B
Nolan Arenado 3B
Carlos Gonzalez RF
Mark Reynolds 1B
Gerardo Parra LF
Ryan Raburn DH
Tony Wolters C
Cristhian Adames SS
---
Chat Bettis P

RED SOX:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Travis Shaw 3B
Ryan Hanigan C
Blake Swihart LF
---
Steven Wright P

McAdam: Just like old times for Red Sox at Fenway

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McAdam: Just like old times for Red Sox at Fenway

BOSTON -- The last two seasons, tourists weren't the only ones eager to visit Fenway Park. Opponents, too, couldn't wait to get to the old ballpark.

In 2015, the Red Sox barely finished above .500 at home (43-38). In 2014, their performance at Fenway was truly troubling -- 34-47, worse than they were away from home.

The days of juggling rotations to avoid unfavorable matchups against the Red Sox in Boston were a distant memory. It didn't much matter who pitched at Fenway. The Red Sox weren't much to worry about.

That's not the case in 2016, however. Overall, the Sox are 17-9 at home this season. Since April 24, they're 12-2.

And they're not just winning at home; they're bludgeoning other clubs into submission. Since the start of the season, the Red Sox are averaging 6.73 runs per game at Fenway Park . . . and over the last 18 games, they've pumped that average up to exactly eight runs per outing.

In 11 of their last 13 home games, they've scored at least six runs and pounded out 11 or more hits.

So it was, again, Tuesday that the Red Sox kicked off a three-game set with the Colorado Rockies with another eight-run performance.

A decade after the PED era crested, the Red Sox are putting up late 1990s/early 2000s offensive numbers at home.

"Our roster, our personnel has changed,'' said John Farrell after the 8-3 win over the Rockies in explaining the surge in Fenway offense. "We've added young, energetic, athletic guys that are able to go first-to-third, which is key in this ballpark because a man at second base in not always a guaranteed run on a base hit, particularly to the left side of the field.

"It's an all-field approach. That's the other thing. This has historically been a great doubles ballpark. Our hitting approach plays to that. The combination of those two things is the reason why.''

Indeed, the numbers bear all of that out. When it comes to their numbers at home, the Red Sox lead the league in runs scored, doubles, hits, total bases, batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage and OPS.

They've scored 175 runs at home; that's 59 more than the next-best team (Texas) has scored in its home ballpark.

Why, the Red Sox even lead the league in home triples (seven), evidence of how much more athletic they've become.

Farrell's right to point out the improved athleticism. Once more on Tuesday night, Xander Bogaerts scored from first base on a double by David Ortiz, something Bogaerts has seemingly done several times a week at Fenway this season.

The ability to take an extra base or two extends big innings and puts further pressure on an opponent.

When slow-footed catcher Christian Vazquez is rifling a ball to the triangle and ending up on third with a triple -- as was the case Tuesday -- then you know that things have changed at Fenway.

Chili Davis, the Red Sox hitting instructor, has been preaching the importance of using the entire field, and hitters are listening. On Tuesday, Ortiz slapped a single through the shortstop hole against the shift in the first for a two-run single.

Then, two innings later, Ortiz pulled a ball into the right-field corner for two more runs.

It's like that night after night, game after game for the Red Sox. The hits and runs pile up, and the wins follow.

The Sox are advised to take full advantage now of a schedule that is decidedly home-friendly in the first half of the season. In August and September, they'll will play the vast majority of their games on the road.

For now, though, there are plenty of games lined up at Fenway . . . an opportunity to keep the offensive numbers surging and the opponents cowering.

Bill "Spaceman" Lee is running for governor in Vermont

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Bill "Spaceman" Lee is running for governor in Vermont

BURLINGTON, Vt. — A former Major League Baseball player is running for governor in Vermont as a member of the Liberty Union party, which bills itself as nonviolent and socialist.

Bill "Spaceman" Lee tells WCAX-TV voters will "need umbrellas" if he's elected, because "it's going to be raining dollars," referring to money trickling down from the wealthy.

Lee pitched for the Boston Red Sox from 1969 to 1978. He was inducted into the team's Hall of Fame in 2008.

Lee says he's a "pragmatic, conservative, forward thinker." He supports legalizing marijuana, a single-payer health care system and paid family leave.