Farrell: Chemistry lessons important to Red Sox

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Farrell: Chemistry lessons important to Red Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. Much is made of the importance of good chemistry in baseball clubhouses. A long season can takes its toll on even the most patient of uniformed personnel. But is it really that important?

I do think so, Red Sox manager John Farrell said. Particularly in this sport, when weve got seven and a half straight months of being with one another every day. That doesnt mean that guys have to go out to dinner with one another every night. But I think theres an atmosphere thats created inside that clubhouse: One of tolerance, one of encouragement, one of holding one another accountable. And I think if youre sincere and respect one another and you're sincere in your work and how you go about it, I think those are the attributes that lead up to what chemistry is. I think it goes a long way.

The Sox have suffered from poor team chemistry since their horrendous end to the 2011 season. While many new players have been brought in to help improve the clubhouse culture, the players who have been with the team can be just as important in fixing it.

You cant underestimate any one person here or any core of players that have been holdovers that have had success here that have won World Series here that know firsthand what Boston has to offer, the expectations and what its like to play here, Farrell said. But at the same time when youre bringing in fresh blood, new players, theres certainly an excitement on their part to come in here. And thats not to say that holdover players arent excited to be here. I think when you have that combination, ones going to kind of lead the way for the other about playing here, playing for the Red Sox. And I think we just have a very good mix of players right now.

Boston pitchers strike out 14, but Red Sox still fall to Rays, 7-3

Boston pitchers strike out 14, but Red Sox still fall to Rays, 7-3

The appearance of Tampa Bay Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough almost got the Boston Red Sox back in their spring training exhibition game. The Sox managed to score all three of their runs against the 25-year-old in their 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida on Sunday.

But the Rays, who scored runs in five different innings, managed to widen their lead in the eighth inning by beating up on Sox lefty Luis Isla, a 24-year-old who spent last season with Portland and Pawtucket. In the eighth, Rays' Joe McCarthy homered and Luke Maile managed an RBI single, which cappped off the scoring in the contest. Sox starter Hector Velazquez allowed three hits and an earned run in his two innnings. The 28-year-old, who spent 2016 in the Mexican League, still managed to amass four strikeouts.

"I was a little nervous at the start, being in the United States for the first time and playing for a big league club for the first time," Velazquez told RedSox.com through an interpreter. "But once I got the first out, all the nerves went away, and I was able to bear down."

Despite allowing two homers, Boston pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.

With the exception of the Sox' inning against Yarbrough, Boston's veterans and prospects struggled mighltily against the Rays pitching staff. Chris Archer started for Tampa, and set the tone in the first two innings, where he threw two strikeouts, one walk and allowed one hit and no runs. Andrew Benintendi (0-for-3), Sam Travis (0-for-2) and Bryce Brentz (0-for-3) went hitless on the day. Travis, however, reached base on balls.

"I felt good. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish," Archer said, via the Red Sox' team website. "Just out there having fun, it was really fun to be out there in the spectrum with the umpire, the fans, the batter. It was fun."

Marco Hernandez's triple got the Sox' eighth-inning off to a strong start, and singles from Matt Dominguez, Deven Marrero, Rusney Castillo and Cole Sturgeon followed. The Sox' eighth inning scoring ended after Castillo got thrown out by left fielder McCarthy at third. Six Red Sox finished with one-hit outings, including Brock Holt and Blake Swihart.

The Sox will next host the St. Louis Cardinals in Fort Myers on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET.