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.

Rick Porcello starts, Drew Pomeranz relieves in Red Sox' 5-3 loss to Twins

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Rick Porcello starts, Drew Pomeranz relieves in Red Sox' 5-3 loss to Twins

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.