Jays belt Cook's two mistakes

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Jays belt Cook's two mistakes

BOSTON Aaron Cook entered Saturdays game having given up just two walks, and two home runs, with two strikeouts in his previous five starts, spanning 29 23 innings.

Hes not concerned about a lack of strikeouts, he has said. That means hes most likely pitching to contact and his sinker is doing its job. The lack of walks means hes pounding the strike zone. And the lack of home runs, well, thats speaks for itself.

Those numbers all changed Saturday against the Blue Jays, though, and the result also speaks for itself, as the Red Sox lost to Toronto, 7-3.

Cook went 6 13 innings, giving up five runs (three earned) on four hits, with a walk, a strikeout, and two home runs. He took the loss, falling to 2-3 with a 3.50 ERA. The quality start was little consolation.

Cook was pretty good, said manager Bobby Valentine. He had groundballs going. He kept them at bay for a while. And started off the seventh with a couple of comebackers. I think the walk might have, he might have lost a little concentration. I dont know, they only hit two balls hard against him. They both went over the fence. Thats a pretty good outing.

The two home runs accounted for the tying and go-ahead runs. With two outs in the sixth inning, Toronto tied the score on Edwin Encarnacions two-run home run after a walk to Colby Rasmus. The Jays pulled ahead in the seventh when J.P. Arencibia led off the inning with his 14th home run of the season.

In a span of three batters, Cook doubled the number of home runs hes allowed this season.

They were pitches that came back over the middle of the plate Cook said. If I had two pitches to take back the whole game, thosed be the only two. I felt like other than that, I was in a pretty good rhythm, putting the ball really where I wanted to and just those two bad pitches, they made me pay for them tonight.

A walk and a home run, you cant walk people before you give up a home run. Solo home runs really dont hurt you that bad. But that Rasmus at-bat I kind of just lost command a little bit and I was trying to get back into it with Encarnacion coming up next. I just left one that kind of looped back a little bit. He was starting to dive. So in retrospect if Id have probably thrown him a sinker in, probably get a different result. But you cant always look back and say, 'What if.' You just got to try to go with what you got. And that was the pitch that I was committed to. Just missed my location.

It was as simple as that.

I think thats just what it was, said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. He made two pitches over the middle of the plate. But other than that, I think he pitched well. The ball was moving a lot tonight. Kept the ball down, got a lot of groundballs, which is what you expect from him.

I think that you know what youre going to get from Aaron. Youre looking for a sinker. I think both those guys were looking for it and they just got the pitch over the plate. Thats all it was. I thought the one to Arencibia was a really good pitch. It was down. It was over the middle but it was down. Not too many guys can stay with that and hit it out. He did a great job.

Cook limited the Blue Jays to just two hits over the first five innings.

It was a combination of us coming to life and his sinker staying up a little, said Jays manager John Farrell. Cook was that good in the first five innings.

Cooks strikeout of Anthony Gose for the second out of the third inning snapped a steak of 19 innings without a strikeout. In that span he had an ERA of 1.29. In his last five starts since coming off the disabled list on June 24, he has an ERA of 2.16, with three or fewer earned runs in all five outings.

The pros and cons of Rafael Devers' promotion

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. 

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.

Baseball Show Podcast: The right time to call up Rafael Devers?

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Baseball Show Podcast: The right time to call up Rafael Devers?

The Red Sox have called up third baseman Rafael Devers. Lou Merloni, Evan Drellich, and Jared Carrabis discuss if this is the right time to bring up their top prospect and if they should still trade for another veteran third baseman.