Valentine, Ross, Matsuzaka contemplate future

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Valentine, Ross, Matsuzaka contemplate future

NEW YORK -- In the wake of yet another one-sided loss, their eighth in a row, ending the season on a perfectly awful and fitting note, some Red Sox contemplated the potential end of their time in a Red Sox uniform.
Embattled manager Bobby Valentine, who will almost certainly be fired within 48 hours of the team's 14-2 season-ending loss to the New York Yankees, was asked what his plans were for Thursday.
"My plans right now are to wake up and have a long bike ride, Valentine said.
Season-ending meetings with general manager Ben Cherington and ownership are expected to be held Thursday at Fenway, at which time Valentine should officially learn his fate.
Asked about his uncertain job status for next year -- he has a year remaining at approximately 2.5 million -- Valentine responded: "My life will be fine.''
Valentine seemed to sense that the end was near. He took the lineup card out to home plate before the game -- a task usually given to a coach -- and as the players filed off the field at the end of the game, Valentine stood on the steps in the visitor's dugout, as if taking in the scene one last time.
Outfielder Cody Ross, who is eligible for free agency, would very much like to return to the Sox. Before Wednesday's game, Cherington said getting an extension done with Ross will be one of his off-season priorities.
"Were trying to get on the same page, Ross said of the preliminary contract negotiations. I love Boston. I love playing here. I love the park. I love the fans. I love the city. Its a perfect place for me.
Indeed, the right-handed hitting Ross hit particularly well at Fenway Park, which seems tailored for his flyball, pull swing. Ross finished with 22 homers, third-best on the team, and 81 RBI, second in that category.
Finally, there was Daisuke Matsuzaka, who made what was probably his final appearance for the Sox. Six years after signing a six-year 52 million dollar deal -- to say nothing of another 51 million the Sox shelled out in a posting fee -- Matsuzaka was battered in 2 13 innings, allowing five runs on six hits.
He finished this season -- shortened as he recovered from last summer's Tommy John surgery -- at 1-7.
Matsuzaka expressed regret that he wasn't at full strength in coming back from surgery.
"I wasn't able to perform to my expectations after the first two years,'' said Matsuzaka, "and I'm really disappointed and very apologetic that I wasn't able to perform to my expectations.''

Quotes, notes and stars: Porcello 'the model of consistency'

Quotes, notes and stars: Porcello 'the model of consistency'

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 9-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays

 

QUOTES:

"Rick has been the model of consistency.'' - John Farrell on starter Rick Porcello

"It means that we have a heck of a team, really. The runs we put up, and I don't think anybody talks about our defense.'' - Porcello, asked about the significance of being baseball's first 18-game winner.

"It's cool to be a part of that, but we're in a race right now and that's way more important.'' - Mookie Betts on the crowd chants of "MVP!" during his at-bat.

 

NOTES

* Hanley Ramirez has nine extra-base hit in the last 15 games.

* Opposing baserunners have stolen only 54 percent of the time when Sandy Leon is behind the plate, the lowest figure for any Red Sox catcher (minimum 20 games) since 1987

* Brock Holt tied a season high with three hits, including two with two outs and runners in scoring position.

* Mookie Betts set a career high with 72 extra-base hits.

* Betts became the third player in franchise history to have a 30-homer season before the age of 24. Ted Williams and Tony Conigliaro are the others.

* Betts has five homers and 13 RBI in his last five home games.

* Rick Porcello is just the fifth major league pitcher since 1913 to begin a season 13-0 at home

* Porcello is the third Red Sox pitcher to win 18 of his first 21 decisions after Cy Young (1902) and Daisuke Matsuzaka (2008)

* David Ortiz leads the majors in doubles, slugging percentage and OPS.

 

STARS:

1) Rick Porcello

The righthander became the first 18-game winner in the big leagues and he did it by supplying seven innings for the sixth straight start while improving to 13-0 at home.

2) Mookie Betts

Betts gave the Red Sox an early lead with his 30th homer of the year, becoming the third player in franchise history to reach that milestone before the age of 24.

3) Travis Shaw

Shaw broke out of a month-long slump with a three-hit game, including a double, to go along with two RBI.

 

First impressions: Porcello settles in, helps Red Sox beat Rays, 9-4

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First impressions: Porcello settles in, helps Red Sox beat Rays, 9-4

First impressions from the Red Sox' 9-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays:

 

* Rick Porcello followed form.

Porcello has, throughout the season, struggled some in the early innings before making some adjustments and stabilizing as the game wears on.

So it was Monday night against the Rays.

Coming into the start, Porcello had compiled a 4.15 ERA in the first three innings with a 2.13 ERA in innings four through six.

Sure enough, Porcello allowed four straight hits and two runs in the third inning. After that, he looked like a different pitcher. He did yield a solo run in the fifth when he gave up a leadoff double and two groundouts.

But from the fourth through the seventh, he faced 13 hitters and retired 12 of them, including five by strikeout.

 

* Travis Shaw showed signs of digging out his funk at the plate.

Shaw was 0-for-6 to start the homestand, and since the beginning of August, had compiled an anemic .141/.236/.264 slash line with only four extra-base hits (two doubles, two doubles).

That resulted in Shaw losing playing time to Aaron Hill at third, and being dropped lower in the batting order.

But Monday, Shaw smacked a double to right -- the kind of extra-base power that he almost routinely flashed in the first half -- and later added two singles for a three-hit night.

It marked the first multi-hit game for him since July 26, better than a month ago.

 

* Lo and behold, the Red Sox can collect hits with the bases loaded.

The team's struggles in that department have been well-chronicled. Coming into the night, the Sox were hitting just .211 in such situations, ranking them 14th out of the 15 A.L. teams.

Time after time, the Sox have failed to come through with the bases full, sometimes even with no outs.

But that wasn't the case Monday. Twice, in fact, the Sox had innings with the bases loaded and both times, they scored.

In the second, Brock Holt's single to left scored Chris Young, though Sandy Leon was cut down at the plate when the Sox tried to get two runs out of it.

In the seventh, a sharp single to center by Sandy Leon scored two more.