BOSTON It wasnt because the Red Sox didnt have their chances. In fact, they had very good chances in the seventh and eighth innings. But both times they came up empty. The result, another loss to the Orioles at Fenway Park. This time they fell, 2-1.The Sox gave Josh Beckett a tenuous 1-0 lead after the third inning. Becket was cruising through the Os lineup, facing the minimum through five innings.But after six, the Os lead 2-1.The Sox had good scoring opportunities in both the seventh and eighth innings.In the seventh inning, against left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, the Sox had runners on first and second with no outs, and second and third with one out after Darnell McDonalds sacrifice bunt. But Marlon Byrd struck out and Mike Aviles popped out to end the rally.In the eighth, against reliever Pedro Strop, the Sox had runners on first and second with one out. Dustin Pedroia, who went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, struck out to open the inning. Strop then issued back-to-back walks to Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz. But Will Middlebrooks flied out to center and Scott Podsednik, who entered the game in the seventh as a pinch-runner for Adrian Gonzalez, grounded out to Mark Reynolds at first base.That virtually sealed their fate and the game. With Os closer Jim Johnson entering in the ninth, the Sox would be hard-pressed to repeat their ninth-inning dramatics of Tuesday night. Johnson, who blew his first save of the season Tuesday night before getting the win in the 10th, came in for the ninth. This time he did not disappoint the Os, getting Jarrod Saltalamacchia to fly out before striking out pinch-hitters Ryan Sweeney and Daniel Nava. It was Johnsons 18th save in 19 chances this season.The seventh we have first and second and Darnell executes a nice bunt, said manager Bobby Valentine. Theyre going to play the infield back second and third. All we need is contact for a tie game, base hit for a lead and Marlon hasnt struck out that many times against left-handers. He struck out. And in the eighth we just were one swing short.Thats exactly what it came down to, Aviles said. Their pitchers basically outpitched our hitters. Thats really what it came down to. It was a great-pitched ball game all around. Josh pitched unbelievably well and he definitely deserved to win and unfortunately we werent able to back him up with the bats.Its a situation in which the Sox have been successful many times in the past.I think we were all pretty comfortable and confident that something was going to happen, especially with Byrdie, Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. He did a great job earlier in the game getting the guy over. It ended up being a hit so we had first and third. It ended up getting us our first run with the next batter. So full confidence in that, in every one of the guys. Still do.The Sox were 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position, and left eight runners on base. This is a different Baltimore team than the Sox have been used to seeing in the past few years.Their pitching is great, Ortiz said. Im not going to lie to you. Their pitching, those guys have been pitching really good and their offense, whenever they get into those situations they score.Going back to last season, the Sox are winless in their last seven games at home against the Orioles, the longest home losing streak to Baltimore in team history.Well play better. Thats all I got, said Pedroia.
BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.
It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.
Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.
Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.
This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.
And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.
“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.
BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.
The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.
The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.
Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.
Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.
And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.
But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.
“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told CSNNE.com before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.
“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”
Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.
“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to CSNNE.com “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.
“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”