Miller wild, Rays sting Sox, 9-6

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Miller wild, Rays sting Sox, 9-6

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Through his first four starts since being added to the Red Sox rotation, Andrew Miller had occasional bouts of wildness, but managed to limit the damage done by walks.

Not Friday night.

Miller walked five in just 2 23 innings and was tagged for a grand slam by Ben Zobrist as the Red Sox came out of the second half chute in inglorious fashion, beaten soundly by the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-6.

The setback snapped the Red Sox' six-game winning streak and represented just their second loss in the last dozen games.

Miller issued two walks in the first, helping the Rays take an early lead. In the second, he walked another, helping to set the stage for Zobrist's bases-loaded blast.

After his second walk in the third, Miller was removed as the Red Sox were forced to piece the remainder of the game together with their bullpen.

The first three Red Sox runs came on solo homers: Darnell McDonald in the second inning; Jacoby Ellsbury in the third; and Dustin Pedroia in the sixth.

Eventually, Marco Scutaro hit one out with a runner on base (Yamaico Navarro), but it was far too little, too late.

A run-scoring single by Kevin Youkilis closed out the scoring.

STAR OF THE GAME: Ben Zobrist
Zobrist cranked his fifth career grand slam in the second inning, staking the Rays to a 5-1 lead early and helping to set the tone. He later walked with the bases loaded to force in another run.

Zobrist had knocked in just eight runs at home in the first half of the season. Friday night alone, he had five.

HONORABLE MENTION: David Price
Price only went six innings, but by then, the Rays had build a sizeable lead and though Price gave up a career high of three homers in that span, he had the good sense to give them up with bases empty each time.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Andrew Miller
Miller was too wild for his own good, walking five in just 2 23 innings. His start Friday was his worst since being promoted from Triple A last month.

The five walks represented a season high as Miller was charged with his first loss in five starts.

TURNING POINT: Ortiz strikes out in eighth
After falling behind early, the Red Sox were chipping away to the point where they had David Ortiz coming to the plate in the eighth, trailing by three with one out.

Had Ortiz gotten on base, it would have brought the potential tying run to the plate. Instead, Ortiz was badly fooled on a pitch from rookie lefty Jake McGee and the Sox' comeback hopes were dashed.

BY THE NUMBERS: 11
When the teams met here last month, they combined to score 13 runs in three games - or, two fewer than they did Friday night.
QUOTE OF NOTE:
"The walks really hurt. All of the balls (he threw) were bunched together. It's a tough way to pitch.'' Terry Francona on Andrew Miller.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Pomeranz gives up three runs in Red Sox loss to Blue Jays

Pomeranz gives up three runs in Red Sox loss to Blue Jays

Starter Drew Pomeranz gives up three runs on five hits in four innings of work in the Red Sox' 3-2 loss to the Blue Jays on Friday.

Lou Merloni breaks down Pomeranz's start and explains why he should be in the starting rotation to begin the season.

Sox' lack of homegrown starters an understandable problem to Yanks' Cashman

Sox' lack of homegrown starters an understandable problem to Yanks' Cashman

The dearth of homegrown starting pitching for the Red Sox is talked about almost as much as every Tom Brady post on Instagram.

Red Sox fans may take some solace in knowing their team isn’t the only one dealing with this problem.

In an interview with MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman didn’t talk about his team’s pitching problems in context of the Red Sox. But the explanation the longtime Yanks boss offered should sound familiar. 

In the biggest of markets, time to develop properly is scarce.

“Yeah. It's a fact,” Cashman said when asked if criticism of their pitching development was fair. “I think part of the process has been certainly where we draft. Because we've had a lot of success, we've not been allowed to tank and go off the board and therefore get access to some of the high-end stuff that plays out to be impactful. Part of it is we can't get out of our own way because we don't have the patience to let guys finish off their development, because if you possess some unique ability that stands out above everybody else -- whether it was Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, now [Luis] Severino and before that [Bryan] Mitchell and Shane Greene -- we're pulling them up before their development is finished.

“Teams like Tampa Bay, for instance, they're going to wait until they have their four pitches down and their innings limits are all exceeded at the minor-league level; they're very disciplined in that approach as they finish off their starters. For us, if I'm looking at my owner and he says, ‘What's our best team we can take north?’ 

“Well, ‘We could take this guy; he's not necessarily 100 percent finished off, but we can stick him in our 'pen. He can be in the back end of our rotation, because he's better than some of the guys we already have,’ and then you cut corners, so I think that probably plays a role in it.”

Not everything is circumstantial, though -- or a deflection. 

“And sometimes we don't make the right decisions, either, when we're making draft selections and signings and stuff like that,” Cashman continued. “On top of it all, playing in New York is a lot different than playing anywhere else.”

We’ve heard that last part about Boston too, here and there.

Cashman was complimentary of his current Sox counterpart, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, whose team Cashman has compared to the Golden State Warriors.

On his feelings when he first heard the Sox were getting Chris Sale:

“When that trade was consummated, that was the first thing I thought about, which was, 'Wow, look at what they've done,' ” Cashman said. “I know how it's going to play out for them. Listen, Steve Kerr does a great job managing that team -- oh, I mean John Farrell. It's a lot of talent and with talent comes pressure to perform. I think Dave Dombrowski has done everything he possibly can to provide that city with a world championship team. They've got 162 games to show it.”