Sox need to put pitching pieces in right order

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Sox need to put pitching pieces in right order

BOSTON -- One of the challenges ahead for new Red Sox pitching coach Bob McClure will be to figure out the composition of his staff. That includes the roles that will be assigned to Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves -- whether they end up in the rotation or in the bullpen, and how they start in spring training.

"No. 1, however it turns out for either one of them or if there's more than a couple of them, by starting them out as starters in spring training, possibly working on a third pitch, which may be important," McClure said. "Usually if you're a starter trying to get three times through the lineup, is basically if they go into spring training and learn working as starters. Its only going to make them better pitchers pitching them three to four to five innings and if they wind up going back to the bullpen then they go back to the bullpen.

"But from my past experience what Ive seen is that guys actually end up better. Theyre able to work in spring training because theyre working multiple innings on another pitch and that being said I think there's a lot of benefits to doing it. You get to see how it works out as far as endurance, as far as being able to repeat your delivery. A lot of relievers are in the bullpen that have starters' stuff because they dont have the ability to repeattheir delivery for 100, 130 pitches."

But the increased workload will be the primary concern.

"It's always a concern," McClure said. "But it's different with each individual. Basically Id have to revert back to my own experience of pitching my first three or four years in the pen and going right into the rotation and going 150, 170 innings. It depends on body types, it depends on their arms. Everyones a little bit different. Its something you have to watch. Youll be able to see it actually during a game if it's starting to show itself and to prevent injury you want to look at that. But it's really going to be based on the individual, their delivery, how easy it is for him to repeat, how easy can he throw hard. So it depends. If hes a max effort guy, if hes just starting to do this, if hes never done it before, youre going to have to watch it. If a guy has a pretty smooth delivery, its usually it a little easier to go higher in innings. But its something you have to keep your eye on it."

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

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Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?