Beckett less than stellar . . . again

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Beckett less than stellar . . . again

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. For the third consecutive outing of his five starts this spring Josh Beckett turned in a less-than-stellar performance. Against the Blue Jays Friday night at City of Palms Park, he went six innings, plus one batter in the seventh (whom he hit with a pitch), allowing seven runs, all earned on 11 hits and no walks with five strikeouts, as the Red Sox lost 11-8.

The first batter in each inning reached base, including Corey Patterson to lead off the game with a first-pitch double to center field, one of three first-pitch, lead-off doubles Beckett allowed.

Results aside, I felt like I did some things that weve been working on, Beckett said. I felt like they were a little comfortable for the first time. I got to take some positives away from that. But obviously the results are what they are.

Beckett said he is becoming more comfortable with adjustments he and pitching coach Curt Young have made to his delivery.

Yeah, especially out of the stretch, he said. I had plenty of practice today on it. It was just something weve been emphasizing trying to get comfortable with, some things that weve altered a little.

Its more mechanical stuff for me, just getting comfortable with some of the new things that Curt and I been working on.

In his last three outings against the Pirates twice and the Blue Jays Beckett has pitched a combined 14 23 innings, giving up a 16 runs, 13 earned, for a 7.98 ERA.

Obviously you look at the results and theyre not good, he said. Today I got to take some positives. I felt like I threw the ball good. I felt like there was the home run that Adam Loewen hit I felt like was a pretty good pitch. Probably wasnt the right pitch at that time because we had him out front on some changeups and stuff like that. Like I said, the results stink but there were some good things that happened today.

The two good things were he got real stretched out and he felt real good physically, said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. He made some mistakes. It seemed like the first hitter of almost every inning was on. So he was pitching out of the stretch. Saying that, once he got to that point I thought he made some good pitches. There were some pitches that still wandered back over the middle, got hit pretty good. But he feels real good physically. I think its one of those things where in March youre glad he feels good and the runs dont count.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Rick Porcello starts, Drew Pomeranz relieves in Red Sox' 5-3 loss to Twins

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Rick Porcello starts, Drew Pomeranz relieves in Red Sox' 5-3 loss to Twins

Rick Porcello and Drew Pomeranz combined to allow all five of the Red Sox' runs in Boston's 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Porcello finished his start by fanning four, allowing four hits and earning two runs over four innings. Pomeranz followed in the next four innings with four strikeouts, five hits allowed and three earned runs. Pomeranz allowed ByungHo Park's eighth-inning, two-run homer, which ended up being the game-winner.

Porcello, however, was optimistic after the loss.

"The buildup was good," Porcello told reporters, via RedSox.com. "Today I felt as good as I've felt all spring. At this point, I'm ready to go. I'm looking forward to the start of the season."

While the Sox offense was able to get three runs off Ervin Santana in his 4 2/3 innings, they struggled against the Twins' next five pitchers. Xander Bogaerts (2 of 3) and Pablo Sandoval (1 of 3) managed homers. Hanley (3 of 3) Ramirez had a double, and Dustin Pedroia (2 of 3) had two singles.

Kyle Kendrick will start Thursday in the Sox' final Spring Training series against the Washington Nationals. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. ET.

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who’s on first? A middle infielder, maybe.

Hanley Ramirez, Josh Rutledge and Mitch Moreland aren't fully healthy. So the 25th man on the Red Sox has become a matter of corner-infield triage.

Rutledge was gearing up to play some first base with Ramirez restricted to DH because of his throwing shoulder. But Rutledge is hurt now too, likely headed to the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, Sox manager John Farrell said Wednesday morning in Florida.

Here’s the easiest way to think about who takes Rutledge's place: Who would the Red Sox like to see less against left handed pitching, third baseman Pablo Sandoval or first baseman Mitch Moreland? 

If it’s Sandoval, then you carry Marco Hernandez, who can play third base.

“He’s a very strong candidate,” manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday. “He’s one of a few that are being considered strongly right now.” 

If it’s Moreland, than you carry Steve Selsky, who has a history playing first base.

“He’s a guy we’re having discussions on,” Farrell said. “Any guy in our camp that we feel is going to make us a more complete or balanced roster, Deven Marrero, they’re all in consideration.”

The additional wrench here is that Moreland has the flu. If he's not available at all for a few days to begin the season, then the Sox probably have to carry Hernandez.

Why? Because Brock Holt can play some first base if Moreland is out. But then, you’d need another back-up middle infielder, and Hernandez gives you that. 

Hernandez is also hitting .379 in 58 at-bats this spring entering Wednesday.

Moreland isn’t the only one who has the flu.

"It’s running through our clubhouse," Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday, including the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton. "Probably be held out for three days for a quarantine.” (LINK:http://www.providencejournal.com/sports/20170329/with-josh-rutledge-and-mitch-moreland-ailing-first-base-depth-compromised-for-red-sox)

That means the Red Sox won't have Moreland for their exhibitions against the Nationals on Friday and Saturday in Washington D.C. and Annapolis, Md. Moreland could still be ready for the regular season, but would likely be at less than full strength.

Having Ramirez available would sure make things a lot simpler for the Sox.

Both Sandoval at third base and Moreland could use right-handed bats to complement them. Or more specifically, they could use people who can hit left-handed pitching to complement them.

Hernandez is a left-handed hitter who might actually be able to hit lefties. But the Sox haven't used him at first base, and there's no indication they will.

“As we look at the upcoming games, there is the potential for two left-handed starters in Detroit,” Farrell said. “So there’s a number of things being factored right now.”

Early in spring training, Farrell was asked what player had started to catch his eye.

The guy he mentioned was Selsky, an outfielder and first baseman the Red Sox feel fortunate to have picked up off waivers because he still has minor league options remaining.

Now Selsky, who has already technically been cut from major league spring training, has a chance at making the opening day roster. He's 27 and hit .356 in 45 Grapefruit League at-bats.

Chris Young isn't going to have an easy time finding at-bats as it stands now, but the Sox aren't considering moving him to first base.