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

Porcello 'feels as good as I've felt all spring' in Red Sox' 5-3 loss

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Porcello 'feels as good as I've felt all spring' in Red Sox' 5-3 loss

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.