Shorthanded Sox look to bounce back vs. Royals

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Shorthanded Sox look to bounce back vs. Royals

BOSTON With Saturdays trade with the Dodgers, the suspension of Alfredo Aceves, and David Ortizs ailing right Achilles, the Red Sox played two players short against the Royals in Saturdays, 10-9, 12-inning loss at Fenway Park.

Such a shortage can compromise a managers ability to manage.

I dont know compromise, manager Bobby Valentine said. I dont like to do the hoping thing and its just I hope I get through this so this doesnt happen. And sometimes in games when you're hoping, your hopes are met and sometimes the thing you want to happen the least happens most often.

On Saturday the Red Sox used all their available relievers. Left-hander Felix Doubront was activated from the disabled list before the game, even though he was not scheduled to start until Sunday. But, he was sent home early because of his scheduled start.

Yes we had sent Felix home already because it was a day game on Sunday, Valentine said. He was the guy that could be the extra man. We were talking about it. That wasnt a good feeling.

Che-Hsuan Lin and Jose Iglesias, who were called up from Triple-A Pawtucket before the game, were both used. In the ninth, Iglesias pinch-ran for Ryan Lavarnway, who was serving as the designated hitter. Iglesias grounded into a double play to end the 11th. In the 10th Lin replaced Cody Ross, who had twisted his knee earlier in the game, and struck out to end the 10th with runners on first and second.

But, with the Lavarnway out of the game, Valentine would have needed a replacement if something had happened to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

We talked about it, Valentine said. Im glad it didn't go further than a discussion. We thought Mike Aviles and Mauro Gomez as candidates.

Lin was sent back to Pawtucket before Sundays game.

Merloni: ‘Missed opportunities left and right’ for Red Sox

Merloni: ‘Missed opportunities left and right’ for Red Sox

Lou Merloni talks about the Red Sox losing 6 out of the last 7 games and if David Price should have stayed in the game for the 9th inning.

McAdam: Red Sox at a loss after excruciating defeat

McAdam: Red Sox at a loss after excruciating defeat

There are still two full months of games left on the schedule and who knows what might happen in that time, or what else might befall the Red Sox.

But for now, it's no stretch to suggest that Thursday's excruciating 2-1 setback in Anaheim constitutes the worst loss of the season to date. The point hardly seems debatable.

Consider:

THE TIMING: This was the start of the longest, and in many ways, most challenging road trip of the season, with 11 games in 11 days. It comes immediately after a homestand that was highly disappointing, featuring a mere split with the last-place Minnesota Twins and a sweep at the hands of the otherwise mediocre Detroit Tigers.

There's been a great deal of attention focused on how many road games the Sox have to play through the rest of the season. Winning the opener -- and snapping a three-game losing streak in the process - would have felt like a strong statement that the club was ready and able to meet the challenges of the schedule.

THE STARTING PITCHER: The loss wiped out a standout performance by David Price, who may well hold the key to whether the Red Sox grab a playoff spot this fall.

Price has been woefully inconsistent in his first season with the Red Sox, alternating between brief stretches of dominance and periods of underwhelming outings.

For a change Thursday night, Price seemed on the verge of winning one of those "statement'' games, when he would make one measly run in the third inning stand up. There have been too many times, given his standing as the team's No. 1 starter, in which Price has pitched just well enough to lose -- like the pitcher's duels in which he came up short against the likes of Madison Bumgarner and Chris Tillman.

But on Thursday, Price didn't buckle. And never mind that he was matched against an aging and depleted Jered Weaver. Price had next-to-nothing with which to work, but he protected the 1-0 lead with a determination he has seldon shown in Boston.

And for his effort to go wasted sets an inauspicious marker for this demanding trip. There was something symbolic about having Price set the tone at the start with a low-scoring, must-have game.

He did his part. Unfortunately for Price, that wasn't enough.

THE WAY IN WHICH IT HAPPENED: Walk-off losses are never pleasant, whether they come on a homer, or a base hit up the middle.

But considering that the Red Sox had the ability to turn Daniel Nava's tapper to first into a game-ending double play, and instead, saw it result in a two-run throwing error on the part of Hanley Ramirez, makes it all the more crushing.

Brad Ziegler, who gave up a go-ahead game-winning homer in the final game of the homestand Wednesday, essentially did his job in the ninth. He got Mike Trout to hit a chopper, which resulted in an infield single. And he kept the ball on the ground and in the infield, with the Sox bringing the infield in with the bases loaded and one out.

Better execution, and the Red Sox walk away with a thrilling 1-0 victory to begin their West Coast trek. Instead, they walk off the field, heads down, with the wrong precedent being set.