Red Sox notes: Valentine's behavior turns more bizarre

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Red Sox notes: Valentine's behavior turns more bizarre

OAKLAND -- Friday night's lopsided 20-2 loss to the Oakland A's may have represented the bottoming out for the 2012 Red Sox. The 20 runs were the most scored against the team this season and the margin of defeat was the greatest since a loss in 2000.

It didn't help that much of the damage -- 13 of the 20 runs -- were produced by former Red Sox players Brandon Moss (four RBI), Josh Reddick (four RBI) and George Kottaras (five RBI), adding an extra dose of humiliation for the organization.

The loss was the fourth in a row on this nine-game road swing on the West Coast, during which the Sox have been outscored 41-12 and it dovetailed with some increasingly bizarre behavior on the part of manager Bobby Valentine.

On Friday, Valentine arrived in the Red Sox clubhouse at 4:15, less than three hours before the start of the game. Most major league managers habitually arrived five hours or more before first pitch. Valentine's predecessor, Terry Francona, was usually in the clubhouse, home or away, before noon for a 7 p.m. night game.

A team spokesperson said Valentine had picked up his adult son at the airport.

As Valentine arrived, dressed in street clothes, accompanied by personal assistant Zach Minasian, he smiled broadly as he walked through the clubhouse to his office in the back of the clubhouse.

"It didn't go unnoticed -- let's put it that way,'' said a person in the clubhouse.

Saturday's lineup offered a surprise, with outfielder Scott Podsednik hitting third for the first time this season and, in fact, the first time in 1,056 career games. (Podsednik has hit third in six games prior to Saturday, but each time was as an in-game replacement).

When asked about the unusual choice, Valentine offered a rambling bizarre explanation.

"Just a mistake,'' shrugged Valentine. "Is that what it says on the lineup? What the (expletive), switch it up. Who knows? Maybe it will look good. I haven't seen it.''

Typically, Valentine e-mails the lineup to a member of the coaching staff, who types out the lineup on a card and posts a copy of it in the clubhouse.

It was unclear whether Valentine was attempting to intimate that the move was not his idea, but rather one dictated by someone else, or frankly, what his motivation was.

Earlier in the trip, Valentine was asked about a pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning that may or may not have grazed Angels shortstop Erick Aybar on the knee. Aybar would come around to score the tying run as the Red Sox suffered a walkoff loss.

When a reporter asked Valentine whether he had seen a replay of the pitch to determine whether Aybar had indeed been hit, Valentine exploded, appearing wildly defensive in the face of a routine query.

"You know,'' ranted Valentine, ''I'm sick of people asking me whether or not we saw anything from the dugout and whether or not the umpires got the call right. Their job is to get the call right. Simple. If they don't get it right, that's not the players on the field's fault for not arguing it. It's not the people in the dugout's fault for not seeing it from 80 feet away. They have a job to do; just do it. I think. I really am sick of talking about that stuff. Thank you. If they can't do the job and get it right, you reporters should all change the system."

Quotes, notes, and stars: "No sign" of Ortiz slowing down

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Quotes, notes, and stars: "No sign" of Ortiz slowing down

Quotes, notes, and stars from the Red Sox' 4-2 win over the Yankees.

QUOTES:

* "He gathered himself and got a little rhythm as the night went along.'' - John Farrell on Henry Owens.

* "That's a rarity for Betances to leave his breaking ball up like he did. Once David saw it up, he attacked.'' - Farrell on David Ortiz's game-winning homer.

* "There's no sign of him slowing down. Tonight is a prime example of it. Key moment, big hit when we need it. There's a long resume there and it's continuing to build.'' - Farrell on Ortiz's ability to deliver in the clutch.

* "There were some mechanical adjustments that I made. I came out a little erratic, trying to do too much, maybe focusing too much. But as game went on, I kind of got into a rhythm.'' - Owens on his start.

* "I saw him throw a lot of breaking pitches to Mookie. The one they hit stayed up a little longer than usual. He's the kind of pitcher that, if you go up there looking for everything he's got, you're done.'' - Ortiz on his game-winning homer off Dellin Betances.

NOTES:

* Over his career, David Ortiz has hit 29 go-ahead homers from the eighth inning on.

* Ortiz has eight homers in his last 24 games against the Yankees.

* The win was the first this season for the Red Sox in a game in which they were tied or trailing after seven innings.

* The Red Sox have won five of their last six and seven of their last 10.

* The Yankees have been limited to three runs or fewer in their last six games.

* In 21 games, the Yankees have faced 10 lefty starters; in 22 games, the Red Sox have faced two.

* Masahiro Tanaka has issued just one walk in his last three starts.

STARS:

1) David Ortiz

With one swing of the bat, Ortiz untied a 2-2 game in the bottom of the eighth with a game-winning two-run homer.

2) Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley's penchant for delivering a big hit continued as he rapped a two-run double to left in the seventh to erase a 2-0 Yankee lead.

3) Masahiro Tanaka

He shut the Red Sox for six innings before allowing three hits and two runs in the seventh.

First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-2 win: Ortiz has flair for the dramatic

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First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-2 win: Ortiz has flair for the dramatic

First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-2 win over New York Yankees...

* David Ortiz still has a flair for the dramatic.

Matched against Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, Ortiz cracked a two-run homer into the Monster Seats to snap a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning. Ortiz now has 18 RBI in 23 games -- he didn't start in four of those games - and at 40, remains the one hitter opposing teams want to face with the game on the line.

Before the homer, Ortiz was 0-for-7 against Betances, with four strikeouts.

* All things considered, Henry Owens did OK.

Owens didn't fool anybody. He couldn't command his fastball, and when the Yankees did hit it, they hit it pretty hard. He walked three and hit another. But Owens managed to limit the damage in a big way, allowing just two hits in six innings despite 10 baserunners.

Occasionally, he would get bailed out by his changeup, which seems to be the lone pitch he has that is better than average by major league standards.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. continues to hit when it counts.

Bradley got the Red Sox offense going with a two-run, two-out double off Masahiro Tanaka, when the Sox were down to their final seven outs.

In the last week along, Bradley hit an extra-inning homer; a solo homer that represented the only run of the game; a ninth-inning triple; and Friday's big two-base hit.

That he has 10 RBI from the bottom of the order suggests he can provide some sock from that spot.

* Matt Barnes continues to make strides.

Since allowing a homer to Kevin Kiermaier on the last homestand, Barnes has allowed just one run in his last four appearances, covering 6 1/3 innings, while holding opposing hitters to a .208 batting average (5-for-24).

* The Yankees bullpen gets all the attention, but in relief of Owens, Barnes, Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel faced nine hitters and retired them all.

McAdam: Gordon suspension is proof MLB testing works

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McAdam: Gordon suspension is proof MLB testing works

Kevin Millar, John Farrell and Sean McAdam talk about Dee Gordon’s 80-game suspension for PED violations.