Mistakes prove costly for Sox

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Mistakes prove costly for Sox

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- There were plenty of mistakes which contributed to the Red Sox' 5-3 loss to Tampa Bay Saturday night.

It didn't help that Clay Buchholz, who hadn't walked a batter through the first six innings, walked the leadoff man in the seventh, then hit the next batter he faced. Both runners eventually scored.

Nor did it help that the bullpen, which locked down a lead Friday, wasn't nearly as efficient Saturday, with Matt Albers allowing two inherited runners to score -- the first on a bases-loaded walk -- and Andrew Miller allowed a solo homer in the eighth.

But the night came down to two misplays -- one in the field and another at the plate.

In the fifth inning, with the Sox leading 3-1 and Tampa Bay's Jeff Keppinger at third with one out, Bobby Valentine moved the infield in.

Jose Molina hit a grounder to short, which Mike Aviles attempted to backhand. But the ball tipped off his glove, rolling away, as Molina reached and Keppinger scored from third.

"I just rushed it,'' confessed Aviles. "That's the biggest reason it kicked off the side of my glove. I knew I had (Keppinger) at the plate and I know if I get that ball cleanly, I know I can definitely make that throw.

"But I rushed it and unfortunately, it kicked off my glove. As soon as the ball was hit, I knew (he was going). I tried to just get it and get rid of it quick and trying to be a little too quick and that was really the problem.

"I rushed it. I don't know why. I haven't done it all year and I don't know why I would do it then and there, especially in that situation.''

In the eighth, with Jacoby Ellsbury on second following a leadoff double, Pedro Ciriaco took it upon himself to try to bunt for a hit.

"(The sacrifice) was never on,'' said Valentine. "He was just bunting for a hit. He felt that the third baseman (Keppinger) had to hang (back) a little because of the guy on second.''

But Ciriaco fouled off his first try, and on his second, popped the ball up at the plate, with Jose Loboton catching the ball behind the plate for the first out.

"I was on my own,'' said Ciriaco, "so I was trying to get something going or to get a base hit. It was a good pitch. I just didn't do the right thing. I think it was a good opportunity to try to bunt and that's what I tried to do.''

Added Valentine: "Bunting for a hit is just like swinging for a hit. You think you can execute it. But it doesn't look good when you pop it up bunting.''

Biggest Red Sox busts in recent memory

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Biggest Red Sox busts in recent memory

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Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

The Red Sox signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract bn August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:

“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”

Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.

That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.