Red Sox notes: Valentine assesses poor pitching performances

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Red Sox notes: Valentine assesses poor pitching performances

BOSTON Red Sox starting pitching has been dreadful lately. In the last 11 games they have put together a combined 8.88 ERA, going 1-10, averaging just over 4 23 innings. In their last 13 games, Sox pitchers have allowed opponents to score first in 11.

Daisuke Matsuzaka lowered that with his performance on Saturday, lasting just 1 13 innings, giving up five earned runs. It was the shortest outing by a starting pitcher since Matsuzaka lasted just one inning against the As on July 2.

Felix Doubront lasted just four innings, giving up five earned runs on Friday. In his first full major league season, the left-hander hast thrown 134 23 innings, an increase of more than 50 percent over the 87 23 he threw last season.

And Franklin Morales, who has been on the disabled list since Aug. 24 with left shoulder inflammation, is going to have his shoulder examined.

Leaving manager Bobby Valentine with no shortage of issues and questions:

Should Matsuzaka stay in the rotation?

Im not sure, Valentine said. Going to see. Have some meetings here with him, too. He was very disappointed yesterday. So was I.

"I was disappointed he didn't come out the second inning throwing the way he threw the first inning. Theres got to be a way of replicating."

Valentine said he does not think Matsuzakas struggles are related to the Tommy John surgery the right-hander underwent in June 2010.

Should Doubront be shut down or rested?

He feels really good, Valentine said. Says he feels healthy. Going to see what the bullpen session looks like on Monday.

Will Franklin Morales, who had some shoulder fatigue at the beginning of spring training, return?

Hes a little hesitant right now because he doesnt feel a hundred percent strengthwise, Valentine said. So hes on a real holding pattern.

At the beginning of spring training he didn't feel it but the training room felt there might have been a little weakness. I think right now he justtalking with him he just doesnt feel a hundred percent. He thinks he can pitch and he thinks he can throw and hes throwing long toss but this time of season if a guy has any qualms about his condition I out it on the backburner.

There really was never any red flags or deficiencies or a situation where he thought he had a situation.

The health is my first concern," Valentine said. If Felix is healthy, hell go back out there for sure, if theres no problem. And Daisuke we could replace with Alfredo Aceves, I would think, even if its onlyhe threw a hundred pitches over three or four days, which is a buildup, but he hasnt really pitched the consecutive innings.

The starting pitching has also been making it difficult on other aspects of the game. Allowing opponents to score first so frequently puts the offense in an early hole, from which it has had a difficult time climbing out.

Theyre elated of course, Valentine said. An offense plays best when theyre relaxed and they have a lead, and they are stressed when they have to come from behind. Right now, our offense without the power has a real problem coming back from behind because they get on the bases and theyre a little tentative and we have to move on the bases in order to score runs right now.

I think it begins with starting pitching, ends with relief pitching and you need the offense in the middle.

Without David Ortiz and Will Middlebrooks, the offense has been hamstrung be a lack of power.

Its hard to value that or weigh that but we are lacking the real threat of that home run guy, Valentine said. Most teams have a couple of them. Were lacking right now. We have guys who will hit home runs before the end of the year.

This season Jacoby Ellsbury has hit in the first, second, and third spots on the lineup. Sunday, he is batting sixth for the first time since 2009, with Ryan Kalish leading off.

Valentine is hoping the change might spark Ellsbury, who is hitting .257 this season and just .139 (5-for-36) with six strikeouts in his last nine games. But its not just about his spot in the lineup. Its also about those around him.

Im not dropping him, Valentine said. Im trying to mix the grouping up a little to see if we can get more runs on the board. Plus I want to see Kalish play a little early in the lineup.

Ellsbury is working real hard. Talking to him about hes feeling yesterday. Hes feeling good. At any time he can get hot as a firecracker. Hopefully today hell start getting hot.

Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who left Fridays game because of back spasms, was not in the lineup again today. With Mondays scheduled off-day, Valentine thought it would be wise to try to get Saltalamacchia, who has not taken batting practice, three consecutive days off.

Sunday's Red Sox-Rangers lineups: Boston needs the good Buchholz to show up

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Sunday's Red Sox-Rangers lineups: Boston needs the good Buchholz to show up

Clay Buchholz hopes ot lead off the afternoon game better than his last start, where he game up a home run and double to leadoff the game against Chicago.

The righty has a career 4.10 ERA against Texas in 41.2 innings pitched against Texas with a 1-5 record.

Unfortunately for Boston, Buchholz is even worse at Globe Life Park. The righty is 0-3 with a 5.82 ERA in 21.2 at the Rangers home field.

The lineups:

RED SOX
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Travis Shaw 3B
Sandy Leon C
Ryan LaMarre LF
---
Clay Buchholz RHP

RANGERS
Shin-Soo Choo RF
Ian Desmond CF
Nomar Mazara LF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Prince Fielder DH
Roughned Odor 2B
Elvis Andrus SS
Mitch Moreland 1B
Bryan Holaday C
---
Martin Perez LHP

Quotes, notes and stars: Wright "today was tough"

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Quotes, notes and stars: Wright "today was tough"

Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 10-3 loss to the Rangers:

 

QUOTES

* “On a night when he didn’t have the consistency to the knuckleball that we’ve seen from many of his starts, he went to his fastball a little bit more. [Against] a good fastball hitting team . . . He’s typically made good adjustments staying over the rubber to get his release point out front -- that wasn’t the case [tonight].” John Farrell said about Steven Wright struggling with his knuckleball in his 4.2 inning outing.

* “The ball was spinning a lot out of my hand. It was a little bit hard to grip the ball because the humidity. But it was the opposite -- it was real sticky. That’s the first time I’ve had that ever. But I still felt like I should have figured that out. It was one of those things where I think I started trying to hard . . . I was trying to the throw the kitchen sink at them but it wasn’t working.” Steven Wright said about struggling to find his knuckleball in the 10-3 loss.

* “It’s hard for me because you want to go out there and try and go as deep as you can to try to help the bullpen, but, you know, today was tough, a tough day for me.” Wright said on his disappointment with only going 4.2 innings.

 

 

NOTES

 

* Hanley Ramirez laced his fourth homerun in his last 11 games. In his nine career games at Texas, Ramirez has six homeruns.

* David Ortiz went hitless for the first time since June 12th. Boston’s designated hitter also hasn’t hit a home run since June 17th -- his third longest homerless spell of 2016.

* Xander Bogaerts scored his 57th run of the season, putting him one run behind Ian Kinsler -- the fourth highest total in the majors.

 

 

STARS

 

1) Adrian Beltre

The ex-Red Sox third baseman finished 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk -- scoring the team high three runs.

 

2) Ian Desmond

Desmond laced his 13th homer of the season in his second at-bat of the game, sparking Texas’ offense with its first run of the game.

 

3) Elvis Andrus

Andrus ended Steven Wright’s day quickly with a three-run triple in the fifth inning, finishing 1-for-2 with two walks and a run.

First impressions from Red Sox' 10-3 loss to Texas

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First impressions from Red Sox' 10-3 loss to Texas

First impressions of the Red Sox 10-3 loss to Texas:

 

Steven Wright can’t be stellar every night.

Although it’s seemed like it lately, it’s just not possible -- especially with a knuckleball.

He wasn’t even that bad Saturday night. He just didn’t get any help from his defense in the fifth frame.

But there’s no denying he didn’t have his best stuff. But whatever the reason, he couldn’t find consistent command or movement from his knuckler and he gave up some hard hits as a result.

Did he receive a fate worse than he pitched? Yes. But what Boston saw from Wright in his Saturday start is there will be times his go-to pitch is off -- and there’s really no way to work around that.

 

Hanley Ramirez’s “timing issue” seems to be coming around.

Although he hasn’t necessarily caught fire, Ramirez hit another home run -- once again to right field.

He’s shown more patience at the plate, and not trying to pull every ball out of the yard.

Ramirez doesn’t have everything completely figured out, but his homeruns have been plenty valuable at this point.

 

Ian Desmond is no joke.

The newly converted centerfielder is 5-for-10 against Boston pitching this series with a run and two RBI.

The ex-Nationals shortstop has good pop and good speed still. He seems to be a lot more comfortable in his new home after hitting .233 for Washington last year with 19 homeruns -- hitting his 13th Saturday night.

 

For all the criticisms Boston’s bullpen has received, the Rangers’ is definitely worse.

Although there wasn’t the same miraculous comeback witnessed Friday night -- and Boston’s pen wasn’t particularly stellar in the loss -- the Ranger relievers did not look good in the second game of the series.

They put themselves into deep counts right away -- and was lucky Boston’s offense was off.

Boston’s bullpen has its faults -- no question -- but it’s not nearly as bad as the one in Texas.

 

The Red Sox unfortunately have to rely on Clay Buchholz Sunday.

The bullpen is beaten down once again. The righty is still fighting for his job, so this would be the best time for him to pitch competitively into the sixth inning -- and maybe even longer.