Sox offense 'not working'

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Sox offense 'not working'

DETROIT -- It's impossible to lay the blame anywhere else but on Josh Beckett for Saturday's 10-0 shellacking by the Detroit Tigers. Beckett was shelled for five homers and seven runs in just 4 23 innings.

But after two games, the Red Sox offense is lacking, too. In 18 innings so far, they've scored just two runs and both of those came in the same inning -- the ninth inning on Opening Day against Tigers' closer Jose Valverde.

That means the Sox' offense has been held scoreless in 17 of the 18 innings to date.

"We've got to do a better job,'' said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who authored the only extra-base hit the Sox got yesterday, smacking a leadoff double in the third. "We've got to get guys on base, we've got some get some runs. We've got to get these pitchers some room to breathe so they can go out there and pitch a little more comfortable.''

In the two games to date, Red Sox hitters are hitting a collective .188 and have just two hits in 12 at-bats with runners in scoring position. They've stranded 12 baserunners in two games and have struck out 19 times in two games.

Kevin Youkilis, the No. 5 hitter in the lineup, is hitless in eight at-bats and has struck out four times. He's gotten the ball out of the infield just once in two games.

"I haven't had good at-bats,'' admitted Youkilis. "But, hey, in 162 games, you're going to have two bad games. These are two bad ones. Hopefully, after the two bad ones, I start
clicking real well and helping this team win.''

"I guess we've got to come back and make better adjustments,'' said DH David Ortiz, who's had some good at-bats with three hits and sacrifice fly in the two games. "It's going to happen. Everybody's adrenaline is high right now and wants to do good. That's part of the game.''

With just three bench players available to him thanks to a 13-man pitching staff, it's not like manager Bobby Valentine has the flexibility to try a lot of different things.

But, clearly, something has to change.

"We definitely have to make some adjustments,'' said Saltalamacchia. "What we're doing now is not working.''

Gronkowski returns to practice; Mason, Branch still missing

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Gronkowski returns to practice; Mason, Branch still missing

FOXBORO -- The Patriots had a welcome face back on the practice field on Wednesday, as tight end Rob Gronkowski returned to action after missing the team's previous five practices as he dealt with an injury. 

Gronkowski participated in the warmup period of practice and then remained with the majority of his teammates for drills. 

The last time Gronkowski was spotted on the field was last Monday, which was the first of three joint practices between the Patriots and the Bears. He pulled up after pursuing a Tom Brady pass, walked along the sideline, met with head trainer Jim Whalen, and then left practice early. He did not suit up for Thursday's game against Chicago. 

Gronkowski has not participated in a preseason game since 2012. 

Patriots not spotted at Wednesday's practice were Shaq Mason, Jonathan Cooper, Sebastian Vollmer (on the physically unable to perform list) and Dion Lewis (also on PUP). Alan Branch, who has been suspended by the team before last week's preseason game, was also missing. 

Jabaal Sheard, Rob Ninkovich, Malcolm Mitchell, Shea McClellin, Tre' Jackson (PUP) and Danny Amendola (PUP) were present for warmups but went to a lower field for conditioning. Amendola and Jackson were not in pads for the short-and-shells session. 

Jon Bon Jovi was taking in the session alongside Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. 

Wednesday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Ramirez gets night off

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Wednesday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Ramirez gets night off

Hanley Ramirez is getting a night off as the Red Sox look for their third straight win against the Rays tonight at Tropicana Field.

Travis Shaw will play first base, with Brock Holt at third.

Tonight's lineups:

RED SOX:
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Sandy Leon C
Brock Holt 3B
Travis Shaw 1B
Andrew Benintendi LF
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Rick Porcello P

RAYS:
Logan Forsythe 2B
Kevin Kiermaier CF
Evan Longoria 3B
Brad Miller SH
Matt Duffy SS
Logan Morrison 1B
Steven Souza Jr. RF
Corey Dickerson LF
Bobby Wilson C
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Matt Andriese P