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

David Ortiz re-enacts Boston movie scenes as part of charity video

David Ortiz re-enacts Boston movie scenes as part of charity video

As part of a charity promotion with Omaze, David Ortiz has made a video re-enacting scenes from Boston-set movies. 

The movies range from a classic -- "Good Will Hunting" -- to very good crime movies -- "The Departed, The Town" — to the just plain bad "Fever Pitch," but all of the scenes are entertaining. Ortiz plays every part in each scene, often playing to characters interacting with one another. 

At the end of the video, a link is given to Omaze.com/papi, which gives fans the opportunity to enter a drawing to attend his jersey retirement ceremony by donating. Proceeds go to the David Ortiz Children’s Fund and the Red Sox Foundation. 

The David Ortiz Children Fund aims to help children in New England and the Dominican Republic who are born with congenital heart failure. 
 

Drellich: When will Red Sox players hold themselves accountable?

Drellich: When will Red Sox players hold themselves accountable?

BOSTON -- Whether John Farrell is managing the Red Sox next week or next month, keep an eye on player accountability.

Five years ago, Bobby Valentine was supposed to be the disciplinarian that stopped babying the clubhouse. Disaster followed, largely because Valentine was a terrible fit for this group, his approach extreme and dated.

But this year’s team makes you wonder whether a distilled sense of Red Sox entitlement lingers.

At Fenway Park, is the message from the veteran voices one that includes a sense of public accountability for not just the manager, but the players as well?

In FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal’s piece on Farrell, Rosenthal noted “some players, but not all, believe that [Farrell] does not stand up for them strongly enough to the media.”

Those unnamed players Rosenthal cites need a mirror, badly. Or at least a glance around the room.

Where’s the guy in the clubhouse standing up to the media with any consistency? There’s no voice that regularly shields the younger, less experienced guys from tough but expected questions after losses.

Dustin Pedroia gets dressed and leaves the clubhouse faster than Chris Sale will get the ball back and throw it Wednesday. 

Pedroia mentioned something about whale poop in Oakland over the weekend. He can be very funny, but he’s not exactly keen to deliver calming, state-of-the-union addresses — not with frequency, anyway.

Farrell, of course, has been criticized for doing the opposite of what the FOX Sports story noted. The manager was mobbed on social media last year for saying David Price had good stuff on a day Price himself said the opposite.

The premise here is amusing, if you think about it.

Follow: Players are upset that the manager does not do a better job lying about their performance. And this, in turn, affects how players play?

Get a grip.

The public isn’t dumb. If you’re bad, you’re bad, and you’re going to hear about it in Boston. No manager changes that.

Whichever Sox player seeks more protection from Farrell really needs a reminder from a teammate to play better.

Too often, some of the most famous, prominent athletes can be sensitive, and over-sensitive. Look at how LeBron James handled a question about what led to his poor performance in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.

It is true that some players question Farrell’s leadership, as Rosenthal reported. But it can also be difficult to separate questions of leadership from whining and grumbling that a manager isn’t providing said player more chances, more opportunities, even if undeserved.

How can Drew Pomeranz's unfounded dugout complaints be Farrell's fault?

The situation and player that make Farrell look the worst this year is Hanley Ramirez. The idea of him playing first base is gone, his shoulders apparently too screwed up to make that viable. 

Somehow, Ramirez made 133 starts at first base last year. One has to wonder how all of a sudden Ramirez can barely play a single game. 

If he’s hurt, he’s hurt. But the Sox didn’t come out of the gate in spring training and say, first base is out of the picture because of his health. They kept saying there was hope he'd be able to play in the field.

If Ramirez is being obstinate, he’s in turn making Farrell look weak. And, more importantly, hurting his team.

What would Ramirez be doing if David Ortiz hadn't retired? Spending the year on the disabled list?

Farrell can pack up his bags today, tomorrow or after the next full moon. The players would still need to take it upon themselves to do what’s best for their team: to focus on what matters.

If they’ve forgotten, that’s about performing up to their abilities and being accountable for themselves -- publicly and privately -- when they don’t.

A manager’s quote in the media doesn’t change whether you’re playing bad baseball.