The bright side of a sweep


The bright side of a sweep

After this weeks sweep in Anaheim, the Red Sox stand at 72-80, and find themselves 14 games back in the AL East and 11 games back in the Wild Card with 30 games to play. At some point in the future, once Bud Selig expands the playoffs to 10 teams per league, these Red Sox might still have a chance. But in 2012, theyre done. You know that. And not even the friendly Mike Aviles or cheerful Cody Ross can do a damn thing to change it.

So, that leaves Red Sox fans with three choices:

1. Ignore the team completely. (This is much easier in the midst of a West coast road trip.)

2. Continue to despise everything they stand for, lament every loss and obsess over their third straight season without a playoff appearance. (This ones most common among alcoholics and the clinically insane.)

3. Take a break from the hate. Say to yourself: OK, they got rid of Beckett, they re-set the payroll. MAYBE this is headed in the right direction. And start looking for reasons why next year could be different.

Some might call that a pink hat perspective, but I think its the exact opposite. Maybe next year is one of the purest forms of a real Red Sox fans psychosis. Weve always been about next year.

Anyway, on that shiny happy note, here are some positives to take away from three straight losses to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the United States of America:

Zach Stewart didnt walk anyone in his Red Sox debut.

James Loney since the trade: 7-17 (.412) with a homer and four RBI. Adrian Gonzalez since the trade: 6-24 (.250) with a homer and six RBI. I dont want to jump the gun, but the Sox clearly got the better end of that deal.

And now for some real ones:

You didnt have to watch Josh Beckett.

You did get to watch Mike Trout. Maybe he wasnt at his best (4-13, HR, 0 SB), but it still might have been your last chance this year to watch the future MVP.

After hitting his 22nd home run of the year on Tuesday, Jarrod Saltalamacchia is only five away from breaking Carlton Fisk's franchise record for homers in a season by a catcher.

(Side note: Is it bad that I don't want him to break it? I mean, it would be nice and all, but if Pudge is going to get knocked out of the record books you'd prefer it not to be during a season as pathetic as this one. Then again, the Sox didn't make the playoffs in either of the seasons that Fisk hit 26.)

Bard is back. And while his number in the minors 32 innings, 29 walks and a 7.03 ERA are enough to make you go blind, it's nice to see him get at least one more chance to put it back together at the big league level.

Jon Lester: Since his infamous 11-run outing against the Blue Jays, Lester's pitched into the seventh inning in five of seven starts, and last night was the first time hes given up more than four runs. Yeah, maybe hes not the old Jon Lester yet, but hes definitely not Rick Ankiel. He clearly has a grasp on whatever went so wrong earlier in the season and is ready to go out every night and give the Sox a chance to win. Boston's 4-3 in Lester's his last seven starts.

Dustin Pedroia: I wrote about this yesterday, but I was really impressed with Pedroia's interview with Rob Bradford. I thought he handled himself well, held himself reasonably accountable and looks poised to once again become a leader for this team moving forward. It also doesn't hurt that since August 1, Pedroia's hitting .336 with a .940 OPS..

And I think that's enough positivity for now.

I need to save some for after this weekend's sweep in Oakland.

Rich can be reached at Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Eduardo Rodriguez strong, Red Sox down Mariners for 5th straight win

Eduardo Rodriguez strong, Red Sox down Mariners for 5th straight win

BOSTON (AP)  Eduardo Rodriguez pitched six scoreless innings and the Boston Red Sox took advantage of a sloppy performance by the Seattle Mariners to earn their season-high fifth straight win, 3-0 on Friday night.

It was the third consecutive win for Rodriguez (4-1), who went six innings, gave up just five hits and struck out four while throwing a season-high 112 pitches. Craig Kimbrel earned his 13th save.

Rodriguez has pitched at least six innings in his last seven starts, going 4-0 in that span.

The only run support Rodriguez needed came in the second inning, when Hanley Ramirez scored on Josh Rutledge's RBI groundout. Boston added two more runs in the sixth, scoring on a wild pitch and passed ball.

Yovani Gallardo (2-5) took the loss. He lasted 5 1/3 innings, gave up seven hits and was responsible for all three of Boston's runs. Seattle has won just one of its last seven.

Meanwhile, Boston gave Rodriguez got lots of help from his defense. Jackie Bradley Jr. had a pair of nice plays, getting an outfield assist in the second and running down another ball on the warning track in the sixth.

In addition to the pitching miscues, the Mariners had all kinds of issues in the wet conditions, committing two fielding errors.

The Red Sox left 11 runners on base, leaving the door open for the Mariners to get back in the game. But Seattle couldn't capitalize, going 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. The Mariners also left seven runners stranded.


Mariners: LHP James Paxton (strained left forearm) was slated to make a rehab start Friday night in Double-A Arkansas. He has been on the 10-day disabled list since May 5. He could be activated for a start at the end of the month against Colorado.

Red Sox: Infielder Marco Hernandez will be out the remainder of the season after undergoing stabilization surgery on his left shoulder on Friday. Hernandez was placed on the disabled list May 4 with a left shoulder misalignment. The 24-year-old hit .276 with two RBI in 21 games. ... A night after he left the game with left knee pain, 2B Dustin Pedroia was held out Friday for what manager John Farrell said was "precautionary reasons" because of the wet playing surface.


Mariners: RHP Rob Whalen (0-2, 4.09 ERA in Triple-A Tacoma) will be making his major league start since last season with Atlanta. He will be 12th different starting pitcher the Mariners have used this season.

Red Sox: LHP Brian Johnson (1-0, 7.20 ERA) will be making his second major league start this year and third of his career.


More AP baseball:

Pedroia (knee) out of lineup again after leaving game early Thursday

Pedroia (knee) out of lineup again after leaving game early Thursday

Dustin Pedroia is out of the lineup again tonight after leaving the Red Sox game Thursday night with knee pain in the fifth inning.

Josh Rutledge will start at second base as the Sox open a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Fenway Park.  

The weather and sloppy field conditions were a factor in John Farrell deciding to get Pedroia out of the game Thursday and conditions haven’t improved significantly Friday. 

Pedroia (.288, two homers, 21 RBI) had surgery on that knee in October. It's the same leg that was hurt when Manny Machado slid into Pedroia at second base in April, the slide that sparked the plunking war between the Orioles and Red Sox.

The full lineups: 

Jean Segura SS
Guillermo Heredia CF
Robinson Canó 2B
Nelson Cruz DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Danny Valencia 1B
Taylor Motter LF
Ben Gamel RF
Mike Zunino C

Yovanni Gallardo RHP

Mookie Betts RF
Andrew Benintendi LF
Xander Bogaerts SS
Hanley Ramirez DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
Josh Rutledge 2B
Jackie Bradley Jr CF
Christian Vazquez C
Deven Marrero 3B

Eduardo Rodriguez LHP