Sox pleased with battles vs. Strasburg

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Sox pleased with battles vs. Strasburg

BOSTON -- Stephen Strasburg was the story coming in, and he was the story coming out of Friday night's game at Fenway Park, in which the Red Sox lost 7-4 to the Washington Nationals.

The 23-year-old righty stuck out 13 batters in six innings, while allowing two runs in six innings, picking up his seventh win in the process.

"Seeing him for the first time, our hitters battled him," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine after the loss. "He threw a lot of pitches in six innings, for sure. But, like they were saying, he's not just a thrower, he's a pitcher. He had pitches he could throw behind in the count. His split-changeup was a really devastating pitch. We haven't seen that before. His fastball was alive all night long. He's special. He's a very good pitcher, obviously."

As special as Strasburg is, and was on Friday night, Valentine could do nothing but praise his offense afterwards.

"This was a good offensive performance by our team. I know we came up short, but this was a battling performance for us. We're in the ninth inning, we had a couple runs taken away from us. We were still battling at the end there.

"There was no letdown, and the guys didn't get discouraged. I thought there was one good at-bat after another."

The Red Sox fell behind 7-2 after originally taking a 2-0 lead in the second inning on a two-run double by Mike Aviles. And after putting up two more runs against Washington's bullpen in the eighth and ninth innings to cut it down to a three-run game, Valentine would have liked to have one specific pitch back -- a called strike on Kevin Youkilis that ended the sixth inning with the bases loaded.

A worn down Strasburg had thrown 113 pitches and loaded the bases with one out on a Dustin Pedroia single, an Adrian Gonzalez double, and a David Ortiz walk. Strasburg then struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and ended the inning -- and his night -- by punching out Youkilis with a 3-2 fastball that appeared low, forcing Youkilis to lose his cool and get ejected.

"I think that inning should have continued," said Valentine after the loss. "Who knows, we could have tacked on three more, four more runs on this thing.

"That pitch was not a strike."

The other run that was taken away from the Red Sox came earlier, in the third inning, when Nationals right fielder Xavier Nady leaned over into Washington's bullpen and robbed Adrian Gonzalez of a solo home run.

The out was in the midst of a stretch in which Strasburg retired 11 consecutive batters after allowing the two-run double to Aviles in the second inning.

"He's got good stuff," said Gonzalez afterwards. "We knew what we were expecting. We've seen enough of it on TV and on video, so we know what we were going up against. I thought we did a good job. But he was the better man out there."

Still, the Red Sox seemed pleased with the way they battled him.

"He's good, he's got good stuff," said Saltalamacchia. "His fastball, throwing it as hard as he does on both sides of the plate. He's got a good, sharp curve ball. He throws his changeup at any time. It's definitely not a comfortable at-bat. We definitely made him throw some pitches though. We just couldn't come back from that many runs."

And perhaps Gonzalez said it best, when wondering -- out loud -- what could have been, had Youkilis not been called out on strikes with bases loaded in the sixth.

"We were one pitch away from making that game interesting."

On Friday night, that one pitch went to Strasburg.

Thursday’s Red Sox-Rays lineups: Benintendi (DL), Ortiz (day off) out

Thursday’s Red Sox-Rays lineups: Benintendi (DL), Ortiz (day off) out

David Ortiz and Andrew Benintendi are of of the lineup as the Red Sox close out their four-game series, and 11-game road trip, with a matinee (1:10 p.m.) against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

Benintendi was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday. He sustained a sprained knee while running the bases in the seventh inning of an eventual 11-inning loss to the Rays on Wednesday night. He had MRI Thursday morning and the Red Sox medical staff will review the results when the team returns to Boston. 

It’s a day off for Ortiz, who will be replaced at DH by Hanley Ramirez, who had the night off Wednesday. Travis Shaw starts at first base.

With Benintendi out, Chris Young, who came off the DL on Monday, will start in left field. Left-hander Drew Pomeranz (10-9, 2.95 ERA) is on the mound for the Red Sox, who are trying to take three of four from the Rays to finish the trip 8-3. Right-hander Jake Odorizzi (8-5, 3.63) starts for the Rays. 

RED SOX

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Xander Bogaerts SS

Mookie Betts RF

Hanley Ramirez DH

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Chris Young LF

Aaron Hill 3B

Travis Shaw 1B

Bryan Holaday C

Drew Pomeranz LHP

 

RAYS

Logan Forsythe 2B

Kevin Kiermaier CF

Evan Longoria 3B

Brad Miller 1B

Matt Duffy SS

Logan Morrison DH

Scott Souza RF

Mike Mahtook LF

Luke Maile C

Jake Odorizzi RHP

 

 

Red Sox place Benintendi (knee) on 15-day DL

Red Sox place Benintendi (knee) on 15-day DL

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Red Sox said Thursday that they still don't have a definitive diagnosis on Andrew Benintendi's injured left knee -- but they know enough to place the rookie outfielder on the disabled list.

Benintendi underwent an MRI Thursday morning and the results were being sent back to the Red Sox medical staff in Boston -- led by team orthopedist Dr. Peter Asnis - to be reviewed.

Marco Hernadnez was recalled from Pawtucket to take Benintendi's spot on the roster.

"The initial read down here was enough to place him on the disabled list,'' said John Farrell. "To what severity the injury is, I don't have that exactly. That will be determined after the review by Dr. Asnis and people back in Boston.''

Benintendi injured his knee on the basepaths in the seventh inning of Wednesday's 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay. The outfielder attempted to elude a tag and return to second base when he wrenched his knee and rolled his ankle.

Asked if Benintendi's injury could be season-ending, Farrell said: "That's probably too early to tell. We're hope that it's not. We've just got to wait and see what comes out of this. And then depending on the findings, what is the safest thing for Andrew to get him back on the field. Optimistically, it's still this year.''

Farrell said there's little swelling and that Benintendi slept fairly well. He also noted that the ankle -- which he rolled -- isn’t a problem.

"Those are the positives,'' he said.

Boston has used seven players in left field this year -- Benintendi, Chris Young, Brock Holt, Blake Swihart, Rusney Castillo, Ryan LaMarre and Bryce Brentz.

Benintendi, Young, Swihart and Holt have all spent time on the DL, leading the manager to refer to the position as a "kind of a Bermuda triangle unfortunately...it's been little bit of a dark hole.''

Farrell said Young will get the majority of playing time in  left, according to Farrell. Holt will also see some playing time, though he won't necessarily play against all right-handers.

Hernandez, meanwhile, will serve as another utility option in the infield.

"We'll mix and match out there,' said Farrell. "But CY will probably get a good portion of the at-bats [in left].’’

Farrell added that, regardless of who gets the playing time in left, the Sox need others in the lineup to step forward.

"We need guys to revert back to their normal contributions,'' Farrell said. "We've been in a dry spell of late...We've got a few guys who are  in a little bit of rut since the All-Star break.''

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts is an obvious example, having gone just 10-for-41 on the long road trip. Jackie Bradley is another who's slumping, with just six hits in his last 36 at-bats. Finally, Travis Shaw is 3-for-20.