Morales saves Red Sox bullpen with long outing

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Morales saves Red Sox bullpen with long outing

TORONTO After his outing Sunday afternoon, 4 13 scoreless innings against the Blue Jays, Franklin Morales was surprised to learn it was his longest outing since more than four years ago.

But I was a starter then, he said.

Yes, he was a starter on April 28, 2008, with the Rockies when he went 4 13 innings. His performance Sunday afternoon was his longest as a reliever.

Morales entered Sundays game with two outs and the bases loaded to take over after Daniel Bards dismal start.

The first couple innings was tough to watch, manager Bobby Valentine said. After that was easy to watch. Franklin was easy to watch, I guarantee that.

Franklin saved the day so we didnt have to abuse the bullpen, I guarantee that.

Morales gave up just two hits with no walks and four strikeouts. He combined with Scott Atchison and Rich Hill to keep the Jays off the scoreboard over the final 6 13 innings.

Morales was rested. He had pitched just twice in the previous week, a total of one inning and 28 pitches two-thirds of an inning and 22 pitches Thursday against the Tigers and one-third of an inning and six pitches May 27 against the Rays. But he more than doubled his previous career-high in innings pitched as a reliever in one outing (2.0) which he had done 12 times previously. Valentine checked with Morales at the end of each inning to make sure he was good to go out for the next one.

Yep, and he could have gone more, Valentine said. He felt great. He was rested and his stints havent been long really since spring training. But he has a good arm.

I didnt feel tired, Morales said. Sometimes if I dont throw a lot of pitches or a lot of innings, sometime I feel tired. But I feel very good today and my arm is good.

I know Monday is a day off and only what I do is make my pitches.

With the outing Morales lowered his ERA nearly a full run, from 4.41 to 3.48. He also lowered his already impressive road ERA more than a half run, from 1.35 to 0.82. In nine road games, spanning 11 innings, he has given up just one earned run. That compares strangely to his home ERA of 6.52 spanning 9.67 innings in 12 games.

Morales says he just tries to throw each pitch for a strike and not think too much about those kinds of numbers. It certainly worked on Sunday.

Now, he said, its good to have an off-day.

Yeah, I need to rest, he said.

McAdam: Red Sox relievers didn’t do the job vs. Toronto

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McAdam: Red Sox relievers didn’t do the job vs. Toronto

Sean McAdam joins SNC to discuss the Red Sox bullpen giving up a 4-run lead in the late innings of their loss to the Blue Jays.

Watch the video above.

Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 10-9 loss to the Blue Jays

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Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 10-9 loss to the Blue Jays

Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox’ 10-9 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays…

1) Toronto’s offense can never be taken lightly.

Coming into the series, the Blue Jays had scored 197 runs, putting them in the middle of the pack among all Major League teams and averaging four runs per game. In the two games against Boston, they’ve scored 17 runs.

So an offense that had appeared to be dormant has been woken up thanks to some subpar Red Sox pitching.

It seems like these two teams are very similar and could be in opposite positions just as easily. The Blue Jays are only three behind in the win column (five in the loss), so Boston needs to win David Price’s Sunday start to widen the gap and cut their three-game skid.

2) Craig Kimbrel is only effective for so long.

Boston’s closer wasn’t giving excuses following Saturday’s game -- and this isn’t one either.

Saturday’s 39-pitch performance wasn’t just his season-high, but his career high in pitches.

This not only resulted in a drop in Kimbrel’s velocity, but it exposed flaws in the Red Sox’ pen. Kimbrel is truly a one-inning guy, so if Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara can’t get him the ball, he’s useless.

And it seems like Uehara won’t be used on back-to-back days frequently in the near future, so Boston won’t be able to use Tazawa in a seventh inning role with much consistency.

Somewhere along the way Dave Dombrowski will need to find another reliever for the back-end of the bullpen.

3) Offense can only take a team so far.

Both teams had big offensive days, in large part because pitchers from both sides made a lot of mistakes -- but they still took advantage of them.

Had the Red Sox been the home team in this contest, there’s no reason to believe they wouldn’t have won -- just based on the progression of the game and ignoring any statistical splits.

If the Red Sox are serious about making the postseason, they need pitching to pick up the slack once in a while. Because when they hit the road late in the year, games like will slip away when quality pitching is lacking.

Quotes, notes and stars: 'Unfortunate situation at a key moment'

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Quotes, notes and stars: 'Unfortunate situation at a key moment'

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 10-9 loss to the Blue Jays:
 
QUOTES
*“We’ve seen Hanley [Ramirez] catch that ball multiple times...An unfortunate situation at a key moment.” John Farrell said of the final play of the game.
 
*As soon as I let it go I thought he was out...I feel like that game kind of slipped away from us.” -Travis Shaw said of his throw in the final play of the game.
 
*“Everybody was so excited on the bench. We’d lost the lead and to have him come through in that situation . . . It was huge.” -Hanley Ramirez on David Ortiz’s go-ahead homerun in the ninth inning.
 
*“We’re a strike away on a number of occasions . . . you watch the attack plan all day long right-handers with curveballs were having success against [Justin] Smoak.” -Farrell said of the bullpen’s performance and Smoak’s ninth inning hit off Craig Kimbrel.
 
*“If he makes an accurate throw he’s out.” -Farrell on Christian Vazquez’s errant throw in the ninth inning.
 
*“In some key spots we gave an extra 90 feet when otherwise we have not of late.” -Farrell said about Boston’s inability to execute late in the game.

NOTES
*Xander Bogaerts has hit safely in his last 21 games, extending his streak with a home run to lead off the fourth inning. He’s hitting .402 with five home runs during the streak. Bogaerts logged his ninth three-hit game of 2016.
 
* Dustin Pedroia extended his hitting streak to five games with his first-inning double. Pedroia has also hit safely in his past 22 games against Toronto. He’s hitting .444 during the short streak.
 
*David Ortiz extended his own hitting streak to six games with a double in the fourth. He's hitting .520 over that span.
 
* Russell Martin logged his fifth multi-hit game of the season -- and first three-hit game -- smacking a double and a home run. Martin entered the game batting .179 with three extra-base hits.
 
 
STARS
1) Russell Martin

Not only did he score the winning run, but he also tied the score in the ninth and launched a home run earlier in the game.
 
2) Xander Bogaerts
Another threre-hit performance, extending his hitting streak to 21 games, Bogaerts keeps creating headaches for opposing pitchers.
 
3) Rick Porcello
On a day where pitchers from both side scuffled, Porcello’s 6 2/3-inning effort gave Boston more than enough of a chance to win.