Hughes, Yankees stifle Red Sox, 2-0

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Hughes, Yankees stifle Red Sox, 2-0

BOSTON The Red Sox wrapped up their dismal six-game homestand with a 2-0 loss to the Yankees Thursday night. The loss dropped the Sox to 1-5 on the homestand after being swept over the weekend by the Blue Jays. They are 33-43 at home this season, have 12 of their last 14 games overall, and have not won consecutive games since Aug. 26-27. It was the sixth time the Sox have been shut out this season.Manager Bobby Valentine said after Felix Doubronts last start he would consider shutting down or resting the left-hander. That did not happen. And while Doubront pitched better Thursday against the Yankees than he has in recent outings, the result was the same as it has been in his last four decisions over his last seven starts since July 23. A loss.Doubront took the loss, falling to 10-9 with a 5.11 ERA. He went 6 13 innings, giving up two runs on four hits and five walks with five strikeouts. It was the first quality start he has recorded since he went 6 13 innings against the Yankees on July 29, six starts ago.The Yankees used the long ball to beat the Red Sox on Wednesday, scoring all their runs on home runs. But on Thursday, just one a double by No. 9 hitter Eduardo Nunez leading off the fifth of their five hits went for extra bases, but it was not involved in the scoring.In the fourth, Doubront loaded the bases with no outs. Alex Rodriguez led off with a single up the middle, stole second and took third when Doubront walked Robinson Cano and Russell Martin. Andruw Jones sacrifice fly scored Rodriguez, putting the Yankees up, 1-0.With one out in the seventh, Doubront walked Steve Pearce before giving up a single to No. 9 batter Eduardo Nunez, ending Doubronts outing. Junichi Tazawa entered, giving up a single to Derek Jeter, scoring Pearce for the 2-0 Yankees advantage.Meanwhile, despite outhitting the Yankees 6-5, the Sox offense could do little with Yankees pitching. They had just seven baserunners in the game, on six hits and a walk. The Sox did not get their first baserunner against starter Phil Hughes until Scott Podsednik walked with one out in the fourth. They had four hits, all singles, through seven innings. Pedro Ciriacos double leading off the eighth was the Sox first extra-base hit of the night. Ciriaco took third on Jacoby Ellsburys fly out to right but was stranded there when Ryan Lavarnway, pinch-hitting for Scott Podsednik, also flew out to right. The Red Sox were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.Hughes earned the win for the Yankees, improving to 15-12. Rafael Soriana earned his 38th save with a scoreless ninth.The Sox have lost 13 of their last 19 games against the Yankees dating back to Sept. 1, 2011, They have lost seven of nine games at Fenway Park this season.

STAR OF THE GAME: Phil HughesHughes went 7 13 innings, giving up five hits and one walk with seven setrikeouts. He improved to 15-12. It was the first time he has held the Red Sox scoreless in a start. He did not allow a hit until there were two outs in the fourth inning, the deepest he has ever gone into a game without allowing a hit since he held Tampa Bay hitless until the fifth inning on Sept. 15, 2010. The seven strikeouts were a personal high against the Red Sox.Hughes threw 95 pitches, 68 strikes, the fewest number of pitches hes thrown in an outing of at least seven innings.HONORABLE MENTION: Alex RodriguezRodriguez went 2-for-5 with a run scored. he scored the first run of the game when he led off the fourth with asingle up the middle, stole second, went to third when Doubront walked Robinson Cano and Russell Martin and scored on Andruw Jones sacrifice fly.The run was the 1,888th of his career tying him with Lou Gehrig for ninth place all-time.THE GOAT: The Red Sox offenseThe Sox offense did not get its first hit until there were two outs in the fourth inning. The Sox had just seven baserunners in the game, on six hits and a walk. They had just one extra-base hit Pedro Ciriacos double leading off the eighth. The had runners on third twice in the fourth and in the eighth, with two outs and could not score. Sox batters were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
THE TURNING POINTWith one out and runners on first and second in seventh, Derek Jeter fisted a pitch from Felix Doubront and blooped a single into short center field, scoring Steve Pearce. Althought it put the Yankees up by just two runs, the difference was insurmountable for the Sox.
STAT OF THE DAY: 16With the loss, the Sox fall to a season-worst 16 games under .500. It is the sixth time they have been shutout this season.
QUOTE OF NOTEIts up there. Last year was tough for me obviously, defending the World Series and then not making it to the playoffs. But this is tough. Its not easy to come here and get beat every day. We got to try to turn it around and finish on a positive note. Cody Ross, on the level of frustration this season

Shaughnessy provides details of Price-Eckersley confrontation

Shaughnessy provides details of Price-Eckersley confrontation

The Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy, citing "six people who witnessed . . . the incident", provided details Sunday of the confrontation between current Red Sox pitcher David Price and Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley, now a part-time member of the Sox broadcast team, on a recent team flight from Boston to Toronto.

As earlier reported, Price berated Eckersley over innocuous on-air comments by Eck regarding a rehab start by Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez. From Shaughnessy:

On the day of the episode, Price was standing near the middle of the team aircraft, surrounded by fellow players, waiting for Eckersley. When Eckersley approached, on his way to the back of the plane (Sox broadcasters traditionally sit in the rear of the aircraft), a grandstanding Price stood in front of Eckersley and shouted, “Here he is — the greatest pitcher who ever lived! This game is easy for him!’’

When a stunned Eckersley tried to speak, Price shot back with, “Get the [expletive] out of here!’’

Many players applauded.

Eckersley made his way to the back of the plane as players in the middle of the plane started their card games. In the middle of the short flight, Eckersley got up and walked toward the front where Sox boss Dave Dombrowski was seated. When Eckersley passed through the card-playing section in the middle, Price went at him again, shouting, “Get the [expletive] out of here!’’

When Price was asked about it the next day, he said only, “Some people just don’t understand how hard this game is.’’

Price later said he was merely standing up for his teammates and "[whatever] crap I catch for that, I’m fine with it.’’

Shaughnessy, citing "three people close to Eckersley," reported that neither Price nor manager John Farrell has apologized to Eckersley.

Drellich: The pros and cons of Rafael Devers' promotion

Drellich: The pros and cons of Rafael Devers' promotion

BOSTON — Rafael Devers is here and there’s a bundle of reasons to be excited. There’s reason, too, to be skeptical. 

WATCH: Did Sox make right move? / BASEBALL SHOW PODCAST: On Devers

Here is a look at the potential pros and cons, depending on Devers’ success. We’ll start with the good as the 20-year-old top prospect heads to the big leagues for the first time.

PROS

Infusion of energy

In the same way a trade can bring a boost of morale, so too can the promotion of a top prospect. It’s new blood walking through the door, either way. There’s help for a group of hitters — and by extension, pitchers lacking run support — who need to see a lift from the front office. Sox manager John Farrell previously acknowledged the sense of anticipation leading up to the trade deadline. The mood heading into Devers’ first game should be an exciting one.

Production

Virtually anything is better than what the Sox have had offensively at third base. Devers’ minor league hitting has been a spectacle. They wanted to see how he adjusted to Double-A pitching and he did so admirably. He walked into Triple-A and kept raking, with three hits in his final game. The ceiling is very high.

Trade leverage

Theoretically this applies to Devers directly. If the Sox wanted to deal him, he’d be worth more as a big leaguer with some success. But if we believe everything the Sox say, they don’t want to trade him. They’d be crazy to do so. Leverage, then, comes in another form. Those teams that the Sox have talked to about third-base help, or hitting help, in general now get a message from the Sox of “Hey, we don’t need you.” Potentially, any way.

Feet wet for the future

A taste isn’t always a good thing, but it often is. One way or another, the Red Sox have to hope that Devers’ first stint in the big leagues lays the groundwork for the future. Growing pains might be inevitable but in some way, the sooner he can go through them, the better. If he comes off the bench at times, that’ll be a new experience he can have under his belt, although you wouldn’t expect he’ll need that skill too much early in his career.

Prospects saved, or repurposed

It’d still be a stunner if the Sox don’t make a trade at the deadline. It just wouldn’t be the Dombrowski way to stay idle. But Devers’ arrival might allow for a different allocation of resources. Whatever prospects the Sox were willing to put toward a third-base upgrade could go toward another bat, or a reliever or both.

CONS

Uncertainty

This is the biggest concern. Even if Devers rakes for the first week and thereby convinces the Red Sox they don’t need to trade for a third baseman, what does one week really tell them? A month isn’t really enough, either, but it would have been a lot better. (There is always the possibility of a trade in August.) Devers is still missing what the position has been missing all along — a known quantity. Someone with a major league track record, someone who can provide as much certainty as can reasonably be found.

Public about-face

Promoting Devers to the majors for the purposes of evaluation ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline would have been wiser at the start of July. He was raking after two months at Portland. It’s clear the Sox didn’t intend to move Devers with this kind of speed. They’ve adjusted on the fly, which is necessary sometimes, but Dombrowski said on July 14 — the day Devers was moved to Triple-A — that "I don't want to put it on his back that we're counting on him in a pennant race.” Didn’t take long for that to change.

Defense

Devers made four errors in 12 games at Pawtucket and has 16 in 72 games between there and Portland. One scout who has seen Devers doesn’t think he’s ready defensively yet. From there, it’s worth noting the context at this position: how chaotic third base has been for the Sox this season. Basic plays were not made for a time, and that’s how Deven Marrero ended up with a job. A drop off in defense is fine, but repeated errors on routine plays won’t work, particularly at a position where the Sox have already lived those woes.

Development

It’s a natural worry for a 20-year-old kid: if he doesn’t do well, can he handle it mentally? He wouldn’t be in the big leagues if the Sox didn’t think so. At the same time, you run the risk of a slow-down for a player who was chugging right along. Devers is poised to share time for now, which means he may well come off the bench, something he hasn’t had to do.

Loss of leverage

If Devers looks bad for a week — as in, truly overmatched — the Sox aren’t going to have any better position for a trade for an established infielder or bat. If anything, the potential trade partner would gain ground.