Pitching struggles in latest loss

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Pitching struggles in latest loss

BOSTON -- It's been a while since Felix Doubront has earned a win. July 18 to be exact.

Friday night marked Doubront's seventh consecutive start without a win, while picking up his eighth loss of the season. He allowed five runs on six hits, two walks, and two home runs in four-plus innings.

"They're a home-run hitting team, and we were trying to stay away from the home run," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine after Boston's 7-5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

And the home-run ball did Doubront in.

After allowing one run on a sacrifice fly in the first inning, Doubront allowed a solo home run to Edwin Encarnacion in the third inning, and a two-run shot to Moises Sierra in the fourth that put Toronto up 4-0.

The fifth run charged to Doubront came in the fifth inning, as Clayton Mortensen replaced him following a Colby Rasmus triple to lead off. Mortensen then allowed a Yunel Escobar single that scored him.

"I think his stuff's pretty good," said Valentine about Doubront. "The first run of the game there, he jammed all four hitters and he gave up a run. The two-run inning, he got the first two guys out in nine pitches. Then he just kind of lost the concentration. So I think his stuff's alright. He says his arm's fine. He's just got to bust through those middle innings there."

Mortensen settled down though, and pitched two full innings while allowing just that one hit and striking out four.

"He got a lot of swings and misses, and continued to be a good pitcher for us," said Valentine.

Essentially, the Red Sox could have tied the game at 5-5, thanks to Mauro Gomez' two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth. But reliever Daniel Bard had previously allowed a two-strike, two-out home run to Rasmus in the top of the ninth that provided that extra cushion for Toronto.

Bard got ahead of Rasmus 0-2, and then Rasmus ripped a 2-2 pitch into the seats in right field.

"Two-strike pitches at the end there and Daniel's one pitch away from getting out of that darn thing," said Valentine. "And he left a slider up."

Red Sox trade Shaw, prospects for reliever Thornburg

Red Sox trade Shaw, prospects for reliever Thornburg

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Red Sox got the bullpen help they were seeking Tuesday, but it came at a steep price.
     
The Sox obtained righthanded reliever Tyler Thornburg from the Milwaukee Brewers, but it cost them infielder Travis Shaw, highly regarded shortstop prospect Mauricio Dubon and pitching prospect Josh Pennington, according to an industry source.

In Thornburg, 28, the Red Sox get a hard-throwing reliever whom they control for the next three seasons. He became the Brewers' closer after the trade deadline last year and recorded 13 saves while posting a 2.15 ERA and avergaing 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings.
    
He will serve as the Red Sox' primary set-up option to get to closer Craig Kimbrel.
     
One potential issue for Thornburg is that he's dealt with some elbow issues in the recent past. As recently as 2014, it was thought that he might require Tommy John surgery, but he instead underwent PRP (platelt rich plasma) treatment and has remained healthy.

Given that the last set-up reliever obtained by Dombrowski, Carson Smith, underwent Tommy John surgery last season, Thornburg's injury history raises a caution flag.

In dealing Shaw, the Red Sox are now expecting Pablo Sandoval to be their primary third baseman -- at least in the near term.

Sandoval missed all but a few games in 2016 with a shoulder injury and his conditioning has been an issue since signing with the Red Sox two years ago.

The Red Sox have Brock Holt to help out at third in 2017, with both Yoan Moncada and Rafael Devers waiting in the wings.

Dubon is the second top prospect to be dealt by Dombrowski in the last 13 months. He included Javier Guerra in a package with three other prospects to obtain Kimbrel in November of 2015.

Dubon posted a .912 OPS in half a season at Portland last year and recently played in the Arizona Fall League. He has limited power, but strong athleticism and makes good contact.

Pennington is 20, a hard-throwing (94-98 mph) righthander who could profile either as a late-inning weapon or a starter. He's years away from the big leagues and has already undergone Tommy John surgery.

The Boston Herald was the first to report that the teams had made a trade. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com was the first to report the details.

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

When it comes to Pablo Sandoval and his weight, a picture is worth a thousand words.

During spring training it wasn’t a good thing. Sandoval made headlines when a number of photos revealed significant weight gain for the Red Sox third baseman.

But the last two images have been more positive for Sandoval.

In October, a noticeably thinner Sandoval was photographed at an FC Barcelona game.

On Monday, Dan Roche of WBZ tweeted a more recent picture of the new-look Sandoval.

Sandoval, 30, is entering the third season of a five-year, $95 million contract. In his lone full season in Boston, 2015, Sandoval hit .245/.292/.366 with 10 homers and 47 RBI.