Notes: Bats still silent despite Lester's strong outing

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Notes: Bats still silent despite Lester's strong outing

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

CLEVELAND -- There was little resemblance between the Jon Lester who pitched last Friday on Opening Day and the one who pitched Thursday at Progressive Field.

In the opener, Lester was rocked for three homers and, for the first time in more than three years, didn't record a single strikeout.

On Thursday, however, Lester looked much more like the pitcher who won 19 games last year, earning him the No. 1 spot in the Boston rotation this season.

He struck out nine over seven scoreless innings and limited the Indians to just three hits while walking three.

"He did a really good job," said Terry Francona. "He pitched around the leadoff double in the seventh by Shelley Duncan. He did a tremendous job. Everything was better today. He was aggressive, worked ahead in the count. He was good. That was the Lester we need."

"I was able to get some balls on the other side of the plate," said Lester, "and for the most part, get some mis-hits. I executed pitches better and was able to keep the ball down more."

Now that the Red Sox are getting better starting pitching, their offense -- or lack thereof -- is still an issue.

For the second time in three games here, they were limited to just four hits.

For the season, the Sox are hitting an anemic .181 as a team with a collective .269 on-base percentage.

They're slugging just .275 and have 10 extra-base hits. The have four homers on the season and just one over the last 38 innings.

They have five regulars hitting under .200 -- Carl Crawford (.174), Jacoby Ellsbury (.167), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.071), Marco Scutaro (.176) and Kevin Youkilis (.105).

Three others are hitting .231 or less: J.D. Drew (.231); David Ortiz (.227) and Dustin Pedroia (.227).

Only Adrian Gonzalez (.304) is hitting better than .300.

"I'm not worried about the offense," said Lester. "We're going to score a lot of runs. It's just a matter of time. Things aren't going our way right now. We're hitting a lot of balls hard that are right at guys and when we're not hitting balls hard, they're not falling in."

Saltalamacchia had a mixed day behind the plate.

In the fourth inning, he threw out Carlos Santana attempting to steal second, marking the first time this season he had thrown anyone out trying to steal. (The Sox recorded two caught-stealings in Texas, but both were on pickoffs).

In the seventh, Saltalamacchia made a terrific catch on a bunt attempt by Austin Kearns, diving, outstretched in foul territory.

But in the fateful bottom of the eighth, Saltalamacchia air-mailed a throw into center when Adam Everett took off for second. Everett later moved to third on a sacrifice and scored the only run of the game on a suicide bunt from Asdrubal Cabrera.

Kevin Youkilis took a hot smash in the palm of his glove hand on a sinking liner by Orlando Cabrera in the third.

The Indians had runners at first and second with one out when Cabrera hit a ball that seemed to eat Youkilis up, clanging off the base of the palm, just below where the glove ends.

"The ball hooked on him and got the meat part of his hand," said Francona.

Youkilis threw quickly to second to force Everett at second, but, distracted by the sore hand, seemed to be somewhat slow in getting back into position as the Sox attempted to nail Travis Buck moving from second-to-third.

After the game, there was a welt on Youkilis's palm but he said he didn't expect it to be an issue.

The Red Sox lost out on the bidding for Cuban outfielder Leonys Martin, who signed with the Texas Rangers for a figure believed to be slightly more than 12 million.

CBS Sports.com reported that the Sox had offered Martin, an athletic center fielder, 12 million to sign, but a baseball source indicated that figure was highly inflated, suggesting the Sox' offer was more in line with what a mid-first round pick in the draft might get -- somewhere between 1.5-1.9 million.

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

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

The Cardinals broke open a close game with four runs in the last two innings against Red Sox relief prospect Chandler Shepherd and went on to a 7-2 exhibition victory over Boston yesterday at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers.

Red Sox-Cardinals box score

The loss dropped the Sox to 1-3 for the exhibition season.

Boston had jumped on top, 1-0, on an RBI single by Mitch Moreland in the bottom of the first, but St. Louis countered with two runs in the second and one in the third, all against starter Brian Johnson. It remained 3-1 until the Cards touched Shepherd for two runs in the eighth and two in the ninth. The Red Sox added their final run in the bottom of the ninth when catcher Jordan Procyshen, who spent last season at Single-A Salem, hit a sacrifice fly.

Moreland, Xander Bogaerts and Chris Young each had two hits for the Red Sox. who also got scoreless relief from Teddy Stankiewicz, Noe Ramirez, Robby Scott, Kyle Martin and Brandon Workman. It was Bogaerts' last game before leaving to compete for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.

The Sox host the Yankees on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m.

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia is no stranger to injuries. That's a big reason why he's no longer a stranger to the sometimes peculiar practices of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In an interview on WEEI's "Bradfo Show," Pedroia told Rob Bradford that he's been taking cues from the five-time Super Bowl-winning QB to help extend his playing career and make his body healthier and more durable.

“I understand what he does and know what he does. I think it’s awesome,” Pedroia told Bradford. “There’s a reason why he’s successful at his age (39), and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles -- the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. He’s definitely got that figured out.”

Pedroia, of course, played the entire 2013 World Series-winning season with a torn ligament in his thumb. He's battled through various other lower body and hand injuries over the past few seasons, as well. But in 2016, he had his best season in recent memory, posting his highest OPS since 2011, as WEEI notes.

Part of that is with his own take on the Brady approach -- which focuses more on pliability and resistance training than extensive, heavy weight lifting -- and a healthier overall lifestyle, something Brady is notoriously infamous for having.

"There’s tons of ways to take care of your body. It’s not just get in the weight room and throw weights around,” Pedroia explained. “As you get older, the human body can’t take the pounding if you’re going in there and power lifting. When you’re younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more -- whether that’s weight or reps or whatever. You’ve just got to be smart. And eating wise, that’s a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, you’ll heal faster if you’re injured or recover faster. It’s like a car, man. Put bad gas in, bro. It’s not going to be the same as good gas.”

He hopes the approach can, at the very least, keep him moving for quite some time.

“I plan on living until I’m 100," he said. "So we’re not even halfway home."