No love in Philly


No love in Philly

PHILADELPHIA -- The Red Sox -- or, more specifically, Daniel Bard -- made the mistake of giving the Philadelphia Phillies too much of a head start Friday night.

Bard, who walked three of the first four hitters he faced, was roughed up for four runs in the first, and though the Red Sox outscored the Philadelphia Phillies 4-2 the rest of the way, the early lead proved too much to over as the Phils held off the Sox, 6-4.

Bard walked five and hit two more in his worst start in some time, dropping to 3-5 for the season.

The Sox later got solo homers from Mike Aviles (his first in May), Cody Ross (his second in as many nights) and Adrian Gonzalez (his first in more than a month) and a sacrifice fly from Daniel Nava to close to within a run.

But after Bard had followed his disastrous first with four scoreless innings and Matt Albers added two scoreless innings of his own, Franklin Morales surrendered a solo homer to Freddy Galvis in the eighth to give the Phils' a two-run cushion.

It marked the end of 23 straight scoreless appearances for Morales, dating back to June 28, also at Philadelphia.

Former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon closed out the game with his 12th save in 12 opportunities.

Hamels gave up two homers to the Red Sox, but had the good sense to do so with the bases empty. He went six innings and limited the Red Sox to just three runs while fanning nine and improving to 6-1.

With injuries to Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, Ruiz has stepped up and become an offensive force for the Phils. In the first inning, he had a two-run single and later added a single in the eighth.

Problems continue for Bard, most of them centered around his command -- or lack thereof. Bard walked three of the first four hitters he faced and all three came around to score in a four-run first. He walked five on the night, giving him 13 walks over his last three outings.

TURNING POINT: Would you believe the sixth pitch of the game? That's when, with a full count on leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins, Bard elected to throw a slider. He walked Rollins, putting himself in a funk and leading to an inning in which he unraveled.

When Franklin Morales allowed a solo homer to Freddy Galvis, it snapped a streak of 23 consecutive scoreless innings on the road for the lefty reliever.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "The walks...they're not acceptable. You can't leave your team out there.'' Bobby Valentine on Bard's wildness.

Red Sox exec Amiel Sawdaye follows Hazen to Arizona


Red Sox exec Amiel Sawdaye follows Hazen to Arizona

The Red Sox lost another key member of their front office Monday, when vice-president of amateur and international scouting Amiel Sawdaye followed former general manager Mike Hazen to Arizona.

Sawdaye will be the Diamondbacks' assistant GM. As stated by Rotoworld, he had been instrumental in building up the Red Sox' young big league talent and farm system.

The Boston Globe reported today that the Red Sox may not fill the GM vacancy created when Hazen left, instead using "other staffers to take on Hazen’s administrative duties". President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski handles many of the duties traditionally associated with the general manager's position, leaving the actual GM's job in Boston as "essentially an assistant [position] with a lofty title but little power".

The Red Sox have also lost two other front-office members this offseason: Senior baseball analyst Tom Tippett, who had been with the organization for eight years, and director of sports medicine services Dan Dyrek, who had been with the Sox for five years.

McAdam: World Series win could clear path to Cooperstown for Epstein or Francona

McAdam: World Series win could clear path to Cooperstown for Epstein or Francona

Sometime over the next 10 or so days, either the Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Indians will win the 2016 World Series.

Naturally, that will mean one of baseball's two longest-suffering franchises will end their championship drought. Either the Cubs will win their first title since 1908, or the Indians will win for the first time since 1948.

That alone should make for an epic World Series.

But there's another bit of history at stake, too - one of legacies.

In addition to the great discomfort felt by Red Sox ownership -- which fired the manager of one participating team and was seemingly happy to hold the door open for the exit of an executive now running the other - it will also almost certainly result, eventually, in either Terry Francona or Theo Epstein being enshrined into the Hall of Fame.

Epstein would go down as the architect who helped two star-crossed franchises win titles - the Red Sox in 2004, and the Cubs this fall.

The Red Sox went 86 years between championships; the Cubs would be ending a run of futility that stretched across 108 seasons.

That would provide Epstein with an unmatched resume when it comes to degree of difficulty. It's one thing to win it all; it's another altogether to do so with the Sox and Cubs, two clubs, until Epstein's arrival, linked in ignominy.

Epstein could become only the fourth GM in modern history win a World Series in both leagues. Frank Cashen (Orioles and Mets); John Schuerholz (Royals and Braves) and Pat Gillick (Blue Jays and Phillies).

He would also join a short list of executives who have won three rings, a list that includes contemporaries Brian Cashman and Brian Sabean.

Of course, Epstein can't claim to have constructed the entire Cubs roster, no more than he could have done when the Red Sox won in '04.

In Boston, Epstein inherited key players such as Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek. Similarly, Javier Baez and Willson Contreras pre-date Epstein's arrival on the North Side.

But Epstein is responsible for nearly the remainder of the roster, and hiring manager Joe Maddon, the coaching staff and most of the Baseball Operations staff, including GM Jed Hoyer and scouting director Jason McLeod.

Francona's influence on the Indians is just as obvious.

Hired in late 2012 after spending a year in the ESPN broadcast booth, he inherited a team which had suffered through four straight losing seasons. In the five previous years before Francona's hiring, the Indians averaged just over 72 wins per season.

Since his arrival, the Indians have posted four straight winning seasons, with two playoff appearances, while averaging 88 wins per season.

It hasn't seemed to matter to the Indians that they've been without two of their three best starters (Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco) this postseason or arguably, their best offensive player for all but 11 games this season (Michael Brantley).

The Indians don't make excuses for injuries, or bemoan their modest payroll. Under Francona, they just win.

This postseason, he's made up for the absences in the rotation by masterfully utilizing reliever Andrew Miller anywhere from the fifth to the ninth inning.

A third World Series would put Francona in similarly rare company. Only 10 managers have won three or more World Series and just six have done so since World War 2 - Walter Alston, Joe Torre, Tony La Russa, Bruce Bochy Sparky Anderson and Casey Stengel.

The individual accomplishments of Epstein and Francona won't take center stage this week and next -- that attention will, rightly, go to their respective beleaguered franchises.

But the subtext shouldn't be overlooked. Once the partying and the parades come to an end, a path to Cooperstown for either the winning manager or winning president of baseball operations can be cleared.