Valentine: No problem with Beckett golfing

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Valentine: No problem with Beckett golfing

BOSTON Manager Bobby Valentine had not had a chance to Josh Beckett about his May 3 golf outing before Beckett left Kansas City to return to Boston Thursday. The manager did talk to the right-hander today.

Yeah I talked to Josh, Valentine said. Hes ready to go, feels great. Im looking forward to the performance.

Valentine said it was not a big deal for Beckett to golf, despite the sore right lat that had scratched Beckett from his scheduled start on Saturday.

Ive never see a pitcher get hurt playing golf, Valentine said.

Again, I didnt think he was injured when he was skipped.

Valentine, though, acknowledged the perception of some fans that Beckett's golf outing was ill-advised.

Perception? I like everything to be perceived in the right light, Valentine said. Everything we do to seem proper.

There has been much anger from fans directed at the team this season, though. Valentine said he expected it.

I was pretty prepared for it, actually, because I was told there was a lot of negative feelings about last year, he said. The first month of play we havent done anything to erase those feelings. We have to play better and I think itll get better.

Its all my responsibility. I dont think because we were hurt . . . every game weve played I think the guys effort has been terrific and we just havent come up with enough victories and its all about my responsibility.

But much of the anger has been directed toward Beckett.

Im not sure I understand it totally but I understand frustration for sure, Valentine said. I understand desire for excellence and I have the same frustration and anger at myself for not meeting the standard. I understand some of it. Cant say I understand all of it because I wasnt here for last year.

Beckett is 2-3 with a 4.90 in five starts this season. Valentine said Beckett, who has not pitched since a loss on April 29 in Chicago when he matched a career-high with 126 pitches, could have restrictions tonight.

Depends on how it goes, Valentine said. Just as long as he doesnt have an excessive inning hes probably real close to being normal. Try not to get an extended last at-bat, thats for sure.

Tuesday’s Red Sox-Rays lineups: Benintendi back in left, Buchholz on mound

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Tuesday’s Red Sox-Rays lineups: Benintendi back in left, Buchholz on mound

A night after his spectacular catch in left field that took a home run away from the Rays’ Scott Souza, rookie Andrew Benintendi is back in the Red Sox lineup, batting ninth and playing left, as they continue their four-game series against the Rays at Tropicana Field.

The Red Sox won the series opener Monday, 6-2, with help from Benintendi’s catch and David Price’s pitching. 

Clay Buchholz gets another start in place of Steven Wright (right shoulder) for Boston. Buchholz (4-9, 5.42 ERA) is coming off a strong six-inning start in a 4-3 loss in Detroit on Thursday in his previous start.

Right-hander Chris Archer (7-16, 4.18) will try to avoid his 17th loss for the Rays. 

The lineups:

RED SOX

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Xander Bogaerts SS

David Ortiz DH

Mookie Betts RF

Hanley Ramirez 1B

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

Sandy Leon C

Travis Shaw 3B

Andrew Benintendi LF

Clay Buchholz RHP

RAYS

Logan Forsythe 2B

Kevin Kiermaier CF

Evan Longoria 3B

Brad Miller 1B

Tim Beckham SS

Logan Morrison DH

Scott Souza RF

Cody Dickerson LF

Bobby Wilson C

Chris Archer RHP 

McAdam: Price is working for Red Sox

McAdam: Price is working for Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The ERA, though now at its lowest since the first week of the season, is still alarmingly high. So, too, are the hits allowed -- most in the league.

But there is another number regarding David Price that is not so discouraging. To the contrary, it's an indication that Price has contributed in a very real way and, more to the point, that there's reason for optimism as the final quarter of the season unfolds.

Innings.

Price has pitched 177 2/3 innings this season, the most of any American League starter.

The ability to consume innings is nothing new for Price, who threw 220 1/3 last season and led the American League the year before, 2014, with 248. Unless something unforseen takes place, Price will top 200 innings for the sixth time in seven seasons.

And, at a time of the year when pitchers tend to being running on fumes, exhausted by the heat and the demands of the schedule, Price is actually becoming more of a workhorse. Monday night's eight shutout innings represented the third time in the last six outingts in which he's pitched eight.

Since the beginning of July, in fact, Price has made 10 starts and pitched eight innings five times. Six times, Price pitched seven innings or more . . . and that number would almost certainly have been increased had not rain shortened his previous start in Baltimore last week.

It's the time of year when pitchers need to grind through starts and chew up innings and Price is doing that better than anyone right now.

After six innings last night, he was at 96 pitches and it seemed certain that the seventh inning would be his last. But then Price threw an eight-pitch seventh and was sent back out for the eighth.

When a runner reached with one out, John Farrell came out to check on Price.

"He just asked me how I was,'' recounted Price. "I told him, 'I'm good -- I got this.' ''

And with some help from Andrew Benintendi in left field, he did.

The deeper the season gets, the deeper Price has been going in games.

"That's what I expect every fifth day,'' he said of his ability to get into the seventh or eighth. "That's what I've done for a long time now. That's what I expect to do now that I'm a Red Sox. It hasn't happened as much as I feel like I should have this year, but like I said a couple of weeks ago, good things are going to happen.

"Innings are big for sure.''

As his habit, Price attributed the ability to go deeper into games to improved "execution'' -- perhaps the word he uses more than any other when analyzing his starts, good or bad.

"Making pitches, that's the name of the game,'' said Price. "The games that I've gone deeper in, I've executed a lot better.''

Given the struggles of the Red Sox bullpen of late -- see: Monday's ninth inning, in which Matt Barnes allowed two runs to spoil the shutout bid -- every inning that a starter provides is an inning a reliever doesn't have to worry about.

Just when they need him most, David Price may finally be getting locked in.

Benintendi saves Sox' bacon with catch of the year

Benintendi saves Sox' bacon with catch of the year

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- When the Red Sox were preparing to promote Andrew Benintendi from Double A Portland, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski expressed confidence that the rookie would be able to hold his own offensively in the big leagues.

But, Dombrowski added, even if he struggled -- and he hasn't (.306/.353/.468) -- Benintendi could still contribute on the bases and in the outfield.

Monday was a case in point. Benintendi didn't collect a hit (though he did have a sacrifice fly to knock in the second run of the game), but he made a game-changing catch in the eighth inning to rob Steve Souza Jr. of what seemed destinated to be a two-run homer, paving the way for the Red Sox' 6-2 victory over the Rays.

Benintendi -- who had started the game in center field but was moved to left in the bottom of the eighth when Jackie Bradley Jr. replaced Chris Young -- sprinted sideways to the short wall just next to the foul pole, where it appeared Souza's drive would sneak over the fence. Without ever looking at the fence, he leaped, snared the ball just as it was leaving the field, then hit the wall with his waist and teetered periously close to tumbling off the field before righting himself and throwing the ball back to the infield.

Click here to see the play. According to Statcast, Benintendi covered 92 feet in getting over to make the catch.

"Pretty stunned," said Souza when asked his reaction. "That was an unbelievable play. He ran a long way, was at full speed and then to go over [the wall] and hold onto the ball . . . [that] was pretty impressive."

"Yeah, I think that's the best catch I've ever made," said Benintendi. "I've never really had an opportunity to take one back and I was fortunate enough I could."

Had Souza's ball cleared the fence, the Rays would have trailed 3-2 and that probably would have ended David Price's night, handing the game over to a less-than secure bullpen crew. Instead, Price got through the eighth unscored upon, and when the Sox tacked on three more runs in the ninth, the cushion was even larger.

"I spent seven years here," said Price, who began his career with Tampa Bay, "and I didn't see that catch too many times. It doesn't happen a whole lot. That was huge."

"That's a highlight-reel play at a pivotal time in the game," John Farrell said of the catch. "[Price] was outstanding. But in a three-run game, that late, take away a two-run homer, it's a huge difference in the ballgame."

That's an example of what Dombrowski was talking about: That Benintendi is a complete enough player to help the Sox win even when he isn't contributing at the plate.