Farrell: Either Betts or Bradley Jr., not both

Farrell: Either Betts or Bradley Jr., not both
August 19, 2014, 11:15 am
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BOSTON - Three things we learned in the Red Sox' 4-2 loss to the Angels on Monday night at Fenway Park:

1. The current Red Sox roster cannot have both Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. on it.

Those aren't my words, those are John Farrell's words before the game.

Betts has made two short stints with the Sox this season, but his third one comes exclusively at the expense of Jackie Bradley Jr., who was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket.

But Farrell speaks the truth, and that means that one of them is most likely gone next season, right? You can't expect either Betts or Bradley to toil away in the minor leagues for another year, especially if Betts proves himself over the next few weeks, and Bradley shows some sign of life at the plate.

As it stands, the Red Sox have a ton of starting outfielders next season, and that will absolutely be addressed over the offseason.

Yoenis Cespedes, Allen Craig, Bradley Jr., Betts, Daniel Nava, and the return of Shane Victorino make for some necessary decisions by Ben Cherington.

The Sox want to see what they have in Betts, a converted second baseman who started playing the outfield in the minors this season. This will also allow them to showcase him - and his new position - to other MLB teams and scouts.

With the way Betts, just 21 years old, smashed the cover off the ball in Double A and Triple A, there's bound to be plenty of interest in him around the league as he gets consistent time in the majors.

Boston is in obvious need of at least one stud starting pitcher next season and they have the prospects - and outfielders - to swing something via trade if it doesn't happen in free agency.

2. Junichi Tazawa is mentally fatigued.

He wouldn't say that he was physically tired when asked after the game, but all the innings pitched are catching up to Tazawa in another way.

"I don't feel different physically compared to last year," Tazawa said through a translator. "It's probably more mental fatigue. I've been giving up unlucky hits here and there. But I still appreciate the team using me in a very important role so I try to do my best."

The Red Sox rely heavily on Tazawa, perhaps too heavily at times − including now, when there's seemingly nothing to play for. Tazawa has made appearances in 10 of the team's 15 games this month.

He leads the staff in total appearances this season at 59 (52.2 IP), and went into Monday tied for ninth in the AL in appearances by relievers. He also was second on the staff last season in appearances at 71 (68.1 IP).

All those appearances add up, and as Tazawa admitted, he's run into some trouble lately.

Monday night is an obvious example. Even before his two errors that led to two runs, Tazawa put two men on base before intentionally walking Albert Pujols.

On Friday, Tazawa came on with one out and the bases loaded, got his first batter to pop out, but allowed two runs to score on a ground-rule double in the next at-bat.

This guy needs a breather.


3. If only they could hit...

Brandon Workman was quality start No. 72 Monday night for the Red Sox. That ranks them second in the American League behind the Oakland A's, who as of right now are a playoff team.

It's a shame the Sox couldn't do anything at the plate this season and wasted such a collectively strong performance by the pitching staff. David Ortiz is really the only player on the Sox that has done serious damage at times throughout the year. His 91 RBI are more than double the next-highest Red Sox (not including Yoenis Cespedes), which is Dustin Pedroia with 45.

Just think about how crazy that is.

The Sox are dead last in the AL in runs (477), which explains how Ortiz could account for 19 percent of their runs. Oakland, on the other hand, is tops in the AL with 597 runs.

After the 4-2 loss on Monday, the Sox have now scored less than three runs 45 times. They are 7-38 in those games.