Three things we learned about Red Sox Wednesday night

Three things we learned about Red Sox Wednesday night
July 31, 2014, 11:00 am
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Three things we learned in the Red Sox' 6-1 loss to the Blue Jays Wednesday night (Editor's note: Written prior to the Jon Lester trade):

1) The phrase "There's a lot of baseball left,'' used to sound like a promise.

When the Red Sox were attempting to get untracked at the end of the first half, this was a common refrain in the Red Sox clubhouse. When the Sox went on an 8-1 run before and after the All-Star break, that was the commonly heard mantra.
     
It meant there was still time to make up ground, still time for things to jell, still time for the Red Sox to overtake all the teams in front of them in the A.L. East standings.
     
But there's this sobering thought: Wednesday night represented the exact two-third marker in the season, with 108 games played and 54 games to go.
     
With the team obviously out of contention and a number of name players expected to be dealt Thursday, what's left to watch?
     
There's the continuing development of Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts. There's the maturation of catcher Christian Vazquez. And there's watching the young pitchers learn how to win at the big league level.
     
Beyond that? It could be a long two months.


2) The Red Sox must have really wanted to get rid of Felix Doubront.
     
Only a few months ago, the notion that the Sox would trade a young, healthy lefty who went 15 straight starts last season without giving up more than three earned runs for virtually nothing would have been unthinkable.
     
But that's essentially what the Red Sox did Wednesday. They'll choose from a handful of players the Chicago Cubs won't bother to protect in this December's Rule 5 draft. That means a non-prospect.
     
The Red Sox had had enough of Doubront, who twice in the last three years reported to spring training out of shape and without having done much to strengthen his shoulder over the winter. And twice - last September and again earlier this month - publicly balked at accepting a role in the bullpen, even though his performance had dipped as a starter both times.
     
Even the Cubs were wary of providing Doubront with a landing spot, out of fear that they were sending the wrong message for players attempting to shoot themselves out of town elsewhere.
     
In the end, though, they decided to take a flier. For the Sox, this was addition by subtraction.

     
3) Brandon Workman's performance was a reminder that not all pitchers make progress in a linear fashion.
     
Workman walked the first two hitters he faced Wednesday and they both scored. Then he walked the leadoff hitter in the fifth, and he, too, scored.
     
After that, he made a throwing error that helped contribute to three unearned runs being scored.
     
The outing was more evidence that young pitchers don't always move forward. Sometimes, for every two steps forward, they take one step back.
     
Sure, the Sox have a lot of talented young arms in their system, including Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, Anthony Ranaudo, Matt Barnes, Henry Ownes, Edwin Escobar and Workman himself.
     
But they'll have their ups and downs as they try to adapt to pitching in the big leagues. And if a staff relies too heavily on too many inexperienced pitchers, regardless of the talent level, that's a recipe for disaster.