McAdam: Sox folds becoming routine


McAdam: Sox folds becoming routine

NEW YORK -- When the Red Sox last visited Yankee Stadium and dropped the first game of a three-game weekend series, second baseman Dustin Pedroia complained that the Sox had rolled over in the late innings of a 10-3 shellacking, needlessly giving away at-bats.
Pedroia didn't offer the same criticism Friday night when the Sox lost another series opener to the Yankees under suspiciously similar circumstances, even though the final score -- New York 6, Boston 4 -- was more respectable.
In fact, Pedroia didn't say anything at all. As reporters waited to speak to him, Pedroia turned and walked out without comment.
It's impossible to know what was on Pedroia's mind and it's folly to try to guess. But had he chosen to speak, he could have been excused for uttering the very same words he had spoken on the night of July 27.
"We didn't do anything. Our at-bats later in the game were not good -- swinging early in the count and hacking... Do something productive. And we're not doing that. That's a sign of not a winning team. It's frustrating."
Three weeks later, not much has changed. Pedroia brought the Sox back from a 3-0 deifict in the third when he banged a three-run homer to left field off Phil Hughes, giving the Sox a 4-3 lead.
But after that third inning eruption, the Sox managed just three more baserunners the rest of the way.
In three of the final four innings, the Sox were retired 1-2-3.
The Sox, who have had success against Hughes in the past, had succeeded in running his pitch count up in the early innings.
"We kind of let Hughes off the hook," lamented manager Bobby Valentine. "We had him on the ropes there. He had 77 pitches in four (innings) and then gave them a couple of innings where we hit some balls real early in the count and got him back in the game."
Indeed, after averaging almost 20 pitches an inning through the first four, Hughes needed just 29 pitches over the final three frames. In two of those innings, the Sox got a baserunner on first base, but failed to advance him either time.
"Very frustrating," sighed Carl Crawford of the offensive showing. "Could have been you've got to give credit to (Hughes) and we probably had some bad at-bats. Probably a combination of both."
The Sox worked exactly one walk over nine innings and, beyond third -- during which all four of their runs were unearned -- never pieced together a sniff of a threat.
The impatient approach didn't change when the Yankees went to the bullpen, either. David Robertson got three outs (and allowed a single) on 11 pitches, while closer Rafael Soriano set the Sox down in order on 14 pitches.
It's one thing to lose games, as the Red Sox have been doing with increasingly regularlity. But it's another thing entirely to fold after falling behind. Sadly, that, too, is becoming something of a hallmark in the last month.

Quotes, notes and stars: Location gets Buchholz in trouble


Quotes, notes and stars: Location gets Buchholz in trouble

Quotes, notes and stars from the Boston Red Sox' 5-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves.



"When he's gotten in trouble, it's been a combination of location and pitches up in the strike zone. That was the case tonight. . . It's more general location than one pitch that he's getting burned on. '' - John Farrell on Clay Buchholz's poor start.

"No disrespect to (Jace) Peterson, but you're wanting to force contact. He hasn't hit for a high average.'' - Farrell on Buchholz walking No. 7 hitter Peterson three times.

"When do you walk guys, you do your best to try to minimize the damage and I didn't do a good enough job of that.'' - Buchholz, who saw Peterson come around to score twice after his three walks.

"It's frustrating when you can't put your finger on what you need to do it, and when you need to do it and why. All I can do right now is learn from it and get better in these next couple of days.'' - Buchholz.

"I didn't hear anything. The play was right in front of me, so I couldn't see him say anything. I just assumed I was out.'' - Xander Bogaerts, who was ruled safe at second on a force play by umpire Joe West, but believing he was out, came off the bag and was tagged out in the first inning.



* Clay Buchholz has allowed five earned runs in four of his five starts this season.

* Heath Hembree pitched multiple innings for the fourth time this season and remains unscored upon in them.

* Over the last eight games, Dustin Pedroia is hitting .436 (17-for-39) with nine extra-base hits.

* All three of Chris Young's hit off lefthanded pitchers this season have been doubles.

* Hanley Ramirez (three hits, two RBI) has driven in a run in each of his last four games and six of his last seven.

* The Sox have scored in the first inning in eight of the last nine games.



1) Nick Markakis

The Braves right fielder had a four hit night and knocked in three runs.

2) Jhoulys Chacin

Atlanta's starter wasn't overpowering, but he limited the Sox to two runs over five-plus innings and earned the victory.

3) Hanley Ramirez

Ramirez broke out a bit at the plate with three hits, while knocking in the first two Red Sox runs.


First impressions of Red Sox' 5-3 loss: Another tough outing for Buchholz


First impressions of Red Sox' 5-3 loss: Another tough outing for Buchholz

First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves


Another night, another less-than-satisfactory start for Clay Buchholz. Since the end of their last homestand, the Red Sox are 6-2. Both of those losses were hung on Buchholz.

Buchholz wasn't horrendous - he did manage to pitch into the seventh inning and five runs in 6 1/3 isn't a shellacking.

But five runs to this Braves lineup is nothing to shout about, either, and Buchholz made matters worse by walking the No. 7 hitter -- Jace Peterson, who came into the game with a .205 average -- three times. Twice, Peterson came around to score.

In fact, the bottom third of the order was 3-for-7 with three walks.


Hanley Ramirez showed some progress at the plate.

Before the game, John Farrell noted that Ramirez had been expanding the zone of late, and working to correct the issue with hitting instructors Chili Davis and Victor Rodriguez.

Something apparently clicked, as Ramirez was 3-for-3 in his first three at-bats with two RBI.

The one thing that's been lacking for Ramirez: power. He came into the game with just one homer and a paltry .373 slugging percentage.


It wasn't much of a night for former Red Sox players.

Catcher A.J. Pierzynski was 0-for-4, and for the second straight night, failed to catch a routine foul pop-up.

Meanwhile, reliever Alexi Ogando came in for the seventh inning and promptly allowed a leadoff single and a walk to the first two hitters he faced before recording two more outs and getting lifted for lefty Hunter Cervenka.


Turnabout is fair play for Chris Young.

Young got the start in left field over Brock Holt, despite the fact that Atlanta started a righthander (Jhoulys Chacin).

Young was 1-for-3 with a double, though that one hit came off lefty reliever Eric O'Flaherty.

Then, in the eighth inning with righthander Jim Johnson on the mound for the Braves, John Farrell sent Holt up to pinch-hit for Young.

That marked the first time that Holt hit for Young; to the great consternation of many, Young had been sent up to hit for Holt three times in the first week or so of the season.

By the way: Holt grounded out to end the inning.