OAKLAND -- Two series down, two sweeps.
So far, the Red Sox' nine-game, three-city trip to the West Coast has been an unmitigated disaster. The Sox dropped their sixth in a row Sunday, 6-2 to the Oakland A's, establishing their longest losing streak of the season.
They were outscored in the three-game series 33-5, and have dropped to a season-worst 11 games under .500. For the road trip, they've been outscored 54-15.
For the fifth time in the six games on the trip, the Red Sox fell behind in the first inning when Seth Smith blasted a two-run homer to right off Daisuke Matsuzaka. Stephen Drew chipped in with a solo homer in the second to add to the lead.
A sacrifice fly by Josh Reddick and a run-scoring single by Drew led to two more runs in the third.
Matsuzaka lasted 3 23 innings and was charged with all six runs. His brief outing represented the fourth time in five games that the Red Sox' starting pitcher failed to get through the fourth inning.
Boston starting pitchers have an 11.04 ERA in the six game on this road trip.
The Red Sox finally broke through in the sixth when Cody Ross singled home Pedro Ciriaco. A sacrifice fly in the ninth by Mauro Gomez accounted for the second run.
Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer. And…
US ambassador to Japan?
Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.
The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons.
When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team."
Would he be interested?
"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.
Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.
Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.
The Pablo Sandoval redemption tour is underway as the former World Series MVP tries to revive his career after two disastrous seasons with the Red Sox organization.
In an interview with ESPN Deportes, he admits to being “complacent” during his first two seasons in Boston after signing a five-year, $95 million deal.
"My career had fallen into an abyss because I was so complacent with things that I had already accomplished," Sandoval said. "I did not work hard in order to achieve more and to remain at the level of the player that I am and that I can be."
After dealing Travis Shaw to the Brewers, Sandoval is expected to be the Red Sox primary third baseman in 2017.
"I am not taking anything for granted," he said. "I am here to work hard. I'm not thinking about the position or not. I am starting from scratch, and I am here to show what I can do on the field."
The 30-year-old says he’s following a “really strict routine” this offseason, and it shows. In a recent photo, Sandoval appears noticeably thinner. Sandoval says his wife giving birth to “Baby Panda” has served as inspiration.
"Watching 'Baby Panda' grow up and that he gets the opportunity to see his father play in the majors for seven, eight more years, to get back to the success I had, that's my motivation every day," Sandoval said. "The people that I surround myself with now and my family, they are the key to my success. This has been a life lesson."