Sox show fight - among themselves

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Sox show fight - among themselves

OAKLAND -- The losses, one after another and often lopsided, have been bad enough.

But on Saturday night, television cameras caught two Red Sox players in a verbal altercation in the dugout after the bottom of the fourth inning.

Reliever Alfredo Aceves and second baseman Dustin Pedroia got into a heated argument. In the previous half-inning, Aceves had repeatedly thrown to second base in an effort to pick off A's outfielder Coco Crisp at second.

When Oakland's Jonny Gomes hit a foul pop-up to the first base side of home plate, Aceves came racing in from the mound and called off catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, only to then drop the ball.

After the inning, the two could be seen arguing, with Pedroia the angrier of the two. Manager Bobby Valentine attempted to intervene, only to be shooed away by Aceves. Eventually, third base coach Jerry Royster separated the two.

According to a source, the argument was the result of Aceves attempting to direct the positioning of the infielders. Defensive positioning in the infield is the purview of Royster, who doubles as the team's infield instructor.

The source added that Pedroia, angry over Aceves's directions, essentially told the volatile reliever to concentrate on pitching and that the infielders would focus on positioning themselves properly.

"It looked worse than it really was,'' maintained the source.

Valentine essentially confirmed that account.

"I'm not sure it was a big flareup,'' said Valentine. "It was just about positioning. Dustin told him he moves when he gets the sign (from the dugout) and (Aceves) wanted to kind of move him over on his own.

"It's Alfredo being Alfredo and Dustin being a baseball player. The conversation wasn't the result of any play. It was just a general Alfredo being Alfredo and Dustin being a baseball player.''

Said Aceves: "(It was) things about our team. It's good. It's something that we have to communicate on between us. But that's us. That's staying with us. Part of the game.''

Pedroia, for his part, was even more direct.

"That's none of your guys' business,'' he said. "That's between teammates.''

Quotes, notes and stars: Betts has first career five-hit night

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Quotes, notes and stars: Betts has first career five-hit night

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals

QUOTES:

"We continually do a great job in creating opportunities and I'm confident that (the struggles with men in scoring position) will turn.'' - John Farrell

"When you start off with a five-run spot in the first, that's a tough deficit to overcome.'' - Steven Wright.

"That's how it goes sometimes. Sometimes, we score when we're not expecting to and then when we need to score, sometimes it doesn't happen.'' - Mookie Betts on the team going 4-for-15 with RISP.

 

NOTES:

* The loss was just the third in the last 13 series openers for the Red Sox.

* The game marked the first time in 20 home games in which the Sox never led.

* Boston was 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

* The first four hitters in the order were 13-for-19 (.684). The fifth-through-nine hitters, however, were just 2-for-21 (.095).

* Mookie Betts (five hits) leads the majors with 55 multi-hit games.

* Dustin Pedroia has reached base in each of his last eight plate appearances.

* David Ortiz's double was the 625th of his career, passing Hank Aaron to move into 10 place in MLB history.

* Ortiz leads the A.L. in doubles (41) and extra-base hits (72).

 

STARS:

1) Eric Hosmer

Hosmer cranked a three-run homer into the Monster Seats four batters into the game, and the Royals were off and running with a five-run inning.

2) Ian Kennedy

The Royals starter wasn't dominant, allowing nine hits in 5 1/3 innings, but he bailed himself out of a number of jams and limited the Sox to just two runs.

3) Mookie Betts

Betts had his first career five-hit night and knocked in two of the three Red Sox runs, though he also got himself picked off first base.

 

First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

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First impressions: Royals' five-run first inning dooms Red Sox in 6-3 loss

First impressions from the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals:

 

Steven Wright recovered nicely after the first inning, but the damage was done.

Wright's last five innings featured just three hits allowed -- one in the infield. But the first inning did the Red Sox in -- two walks followed by a three-run homer, then a single and a two-run homer.

Whether this was a matter of rust for Wright -- who last pitched three weeks ago Friday night -- or an early inability to command his knuckleball is uncertain.

The fact is, Wright dug an early hole for his teammates, and he had the misfortune to do so against a team with the best bullpen in baseball.

To his credit, Wright kept the game somewhat within reach thereafter, but the five-run head start proved too much of a jump.

 

It's time to worry a little about Jackie Bradley.

Bradley was just 7-for-40 in the just-completed road trip, and things didn't get any better on the first night of the homestand.

In the first, he came up with two on and two out and struck out swinging to strand both baserunners. In the third, he came to the plate with runners on the corners and, again, struck out swinging.

We're seeing the same kind of slump that Bradley fell into in previous seasons, where even contact is hard to find, with nine strikeouts in the last 16 at-bats.

Problem is, with Andrew Benitendi on the DL, there aren't a lot of options for John Farrell with the Red Sox outfield.

 

Trying to get Fernando Abad and Junichi Tazawa back on track in low- leverage mop-up didn't work.

Tazawa had a perfect seventh, but gave up a monster shot into the center field bleachers to Lorenzo Cain to start the eighth.

Abad entered, and while he did record a couple of strikeouts, also gave up a single, a walk and threw a wild pitches before he could complete the inning.

Getting some work for the two was the right idea, given that the Sox were down by three runs at the time. A good outing might help either regain some confidence and turn the corner.

But not even that could be accomplished Friday night.