Trapezius muscle pain too much for Matsuzaka to overcome

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Trapezius muscle pain too much for Matsuzaka to overcome

OAKLAND -- Daisuke Matsuzaka told the Red Sox several days ago that he was again being bothered by his right trapezius muscle (ranges from the neck to shoulder to upper back), and wouldn't be able to throw his usual bullpen session in-between starts.

But Matsuzaka insisted that he was fit enough to make his scheduled start as the Red Sox opened a three-game series in Oakland.

Turns out, he wasn't.

Matsuzaka was rocked for five runs in just over an inning's worth of work, putting the Red Sox into an early hole out from which they couldn't climb in a 6-1 loss to the A's.

"Obviously he didn't have his good stuff tonight," said Valentine. "We were hoping he was going to work through (the issue). (He mentioned it) a couple of days ago, but it seemed like he worked through it. He said he was going to be alright to pitch. We asked him pretty consistently.

"It got rubbed out the other day in Seattle."

Matsuzaka allowed a solo homer to Josh Reddick in the first, then came unglued in the second, as the first five hitters of the inning reached base. Included in there was a three-run homer by another former Red Sox outfielder, Brandon Moss.

He left after an inning, tying his shortest outing since joining the Red Sox.

"Leading up to the start, my neck tightened up a little bit and I ended up not being able to throw a bullpen," he said. "I focused on getting myself into condition to be able to pitch tonight. I went out there, but I ended up not being able to get my arm through."

Matsuzaka has battled this same issue twice earlier this season -- once in spring training, and then again in May, when he was nearing the end of his rehabilitation assignment. Both times, he received injections to the area.

Matsuzaka is now winless in five starts since returning from Tommy John surgery

Asked if placing Matsuzaka on the disabled list was a possibility, Valentine said: "Oh, I don't know. With the All-Star break, possibly."

"I just spoke to Bobby about what needs to be done," said Matsuzaka, "and a decision will be made sooner than later."

Thursday's Red Sox-Angels lineups: Sox kick off road trip with Price

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Thursday's Red Sox-Angels lineups: Sox kick off road trip with Price

The Boston Red Sox send David Price (9-7, 4.51 ERA) to the mound to kick of their long road trip against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The Angels will counter with righty Jered Weaver (8-8, 5.32 ERA).

The lineups:

RED SOX

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Travis Shaw 3B
Sandy Leon C
Brock Holt LF

David Price LHP

ANGELS
Yunel Escobar 3B
Kole Calhoun RF
Mike Trout CF
Albert Pujols DH
Jefry Marte 1B
Andrelton Simmons SS
Jett Bandy C
Gregorio Petit LF
Johnny Giavotella 2B

Jered Weaver RHP

McAdam: Poor homestand puts Red Sox on tough road

McAdam: Poor homestand puts Red Sox on tough road

The Red Sox had their chance.

They could have beefed up during the just-completed homestand and taken advantage of the worst team in the American League (Minnesota) and another that was only three games over .500 when it came to town (Detroit).

Instead, the Red Sox were just 2-5 in the last seven games at Fenway, losing ground in the standings to the Orioles and Blue Jays rather than making the race tighter.

That's not to suggest the Red Sox played their way out of contention in the last week. There are better than two months remaining in the season and the schedule isn't yet two-thirds complete.

Moreover, there is no dominant team in the East, and, thus, no one capable of pulling away and leaving the rest of the teams in their wake.

Baltimore and Toronto are flawed, too, as the first 100 or so games of the season have demonstrated.

But what the disappointing homestand means is this: Because they didn't win as much as they should at Fenway in the last week, the Sox will have to make up for that on the road.

As has been talked about ad nauseum in the last week, the schedule is about to become more demanding for the Red Sox. It's bad enough that they're in the middle of a stretch that will see them enjoy one (1) day off in the span of 44 days. Making matters worse is that 41 of the final 63 games are away from home -- including the next 11.

Put another way: The Red Sox have not yet had a three-city road trip this season, but all four of their remaining trips are of the three-city variety, including two that include travel to the West Coast.

The Red Sox have played fairly well on the road (21-19) -- they're one of just four teams in the American League with a winning road record -- but the simple fact remains: It's harder to win on the road than it is at home. And that's before you take into consideration the toll that lengthy road trips can take.

Of the next three road opponents, one has a losing record, and another is just two games over .500. Only the Los Angeles Dodgers, next weekend's interleauge road opponent, are playoff contenders from among that group.

Then again, the Red Sox thought they could roll over the Twins last weekend and came away with a four-game split, so it's difficult to handicap these things.

It should help, too, that the Red Sox are getting healthier.

Junichi Tazawa returned this week, and Craig Kimbrel could be back as early as Monday in Seattle. Chris Young and Josh Rutledge could rejoin them before they head out on their next road swing in mid-August.

With all the talk of the daunting schedule and demanding travel ahead, Dustin Pedroia was having none of it.

"We can play just as well on the road as we have at home,'' said Pedroia. "That stuff (the schedule) is irrelevant.''

Maybe. But one way or another, we're about to find out.

Source: Sox seek smaller pieces, not big names, at trade deadline

Source: Sox seek smaller pieces, not big names, at trade deadline

BOSTON -- According to an N.L. talent evaluator who is familiar with some of the Red Sox ongoing talks with teams leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, the Sox seem focused on adding a bullpen piece and/or back-end starters.

The need for the former is rather obvious, given the current injuries to Criag Kimbrel and Koji Uehara. The Sox can use some upgrades and another experienced arm to guide them through the final two months.

As for the rotation, it's not a surprise that the Sox aren't serious bidders for more glamorous names like Chris Sale, since that would require them to gut their farm system.

But the team's starter depth is perilous, with only Clay Buchholz in reserve. It makes perfect sense that the Sox would be seeking someone else to help provide them with insurance against further injuries or under-performance.