Notes: Lackey pays for mistakes

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Notes: Lackey pays for mistakes

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON After finally pushing his record above. 500 for the first time all season in his last start, John Lackey could not extend that against the Indians -- who have won just twice in their last 10 games -- Monday night at Fenway Park. Lackey went 6 23 innings, giving up five runs on eight hits, with no walks and five strikeouts. He was not involved in the decision, though, as the Sox lost 9-6. It was the first time in 18 starts this year he has not been the pitcher of record.

Lackey tied a season high with two home runs, giving up back-to-back homers in the seventh -- a two-run shot to Asdrubal Cabrera and a solo homer to Travis Hafner. It was the first time he has allowed consecutive home runs while with the Sox. The last time he did so was Aug. 9, 2008 while with the Angels to the Yankees Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi.

In retiring the first eight batters he faced before giving up a single to Ezequiel Carrera in the third, Lackey recorded a 1-2-3 first inning for the first time this season.

The 17 starts with a decision was a career high. No other pitcher in the majors has had as many decisions to start the year. The last Sox pitcher with at least 17 consecutive decisions in starts was Time Wakefield, who went 16-10 in his first 26 starts in 2007.

I thought he threw the ball really well, said manager Terry Francona. I thought his fastball was crisp, I thought his changeup, as has been of late, was really good. He made some mistakes and paid for them. Tried to get a breaking ball down under a left-hander's bat and left it too much of the plate. Went away to Hafner where hes had a lot of success. Probably throwing too many in a row or didnt quite get it where he wanted to. He hit it a long way. As a staff tonight we paid for our mistakes.

Red Sox pitchers gave up four home runs in the game, with Daniel Bard giving up a go-ahead two-run shot to Cabrera and Matt Albers giving up a ninth-inning solo homer to Jason Kipnis. The four homers allowed tie the Sox season-high for the fourth time this season, and the first since April 9 against the Yankees.

I thought Lackey was good, said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. I thought he was sharp. Couple of pitches that he left over the plate that they were able to hit. They didnt miss the pitches. But he was sharp. We used all his pitches. I thought his velocity was good, curveball, changeup. So, to me I thought he was really good.

His line did not jibe with how Lackey felt about his outing.

I thought I was better than five runs, he said.

Left-hander Erik Bedard, acquired at the trading deadline Sunday from the Mariners, is scheduled to make his his first start for the Red Sox Thursday against the Indians.

Bedard started Friday for the Mariners against the Rays. He gave up five runs in 1 13 innings, throwing 57 pitches (28 strikes), allowing three hits and four walks with two strikeouts. It was his first start since June 27, after going on the disabled with a sprained knee. He is 4-7 with a 3.45 ERA in 16 starts for the Mariners this season.

The Sox do not have an off-day until Aug. 11, and then have another on Aug. 15, before a doubleheader with the Rays on Aug. 16. Starting Bedard Thursday gives him an extra day rest and allows manager Terry Francona to give his other starters an extra day of rest, as well.

That way we can back up Jon Lester, give him an extra day, Francona said. So everybody slides back a day. We dont have a day off until we leave to go to Seattle on Aug. 11. So up to that point well kind of stick with six starters. Andrew Miller will be in the bullpen Thursday. Bedard I think threw 57 pitches in an inning and one-third. It was almost like he hadnt pitched in a month. The way we interpreted it from the Seattle guys is if he had pitched on Wednesday, they were going to hold him to about 75 or 80. So we probably need to somewhat stick with that also. So well have Andrew out there just to keep an eye on our bullpen. if Miller doesnt pitch in that game, hell take his normal turn Monday in Minnesota. If he does, hell pitch Tuesday in Minnesota and Tim Wakefield will stay on his normalWe can flip-flop those two.

Bedard, a sxith-round pick of the Orioles in 1999, is expected to arrive in Boston on Tuesday.

I talked to him Sunday a little bit, Francona said. He was terrific. Said he was looking forward to it and we talked about his day to pitch sohe can get himself settled when he gets here and everything. We look forward to getting him going. The one thing we have to recognize is he hasnt pitched a lot the last month so we got to kind of want to get him ramped up so we can . . . get the most out of him. Well keep an eye on him.

Francona likes Bedards breaking ball.

The way its been explained to me, he can wake up at 3 o'clock in the morning and he spins his breaking ball. Hes also done it in the American League East, which is something to think about. Ive seen what hes done to us, so were excited.

Francona said Bedards knee would not be an issue.

Hes got the brace on but hes OK, Francona said.

Saltalamacchia went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI, extending his hitting streak to nine games, tying a career high.

I feel good, fell comfortable at the plate, he said. For me just putting quality plate appearances together, feeling comfortable at the plate is good. But its not as good if you dont get the win.

He now has 36 RBI this season, a new career high. He hit his 10th home run of the season in the sixth, a two-run, broken-bat shot to right, scoring Carl Crawford. The splintered end of Saltalamacchias bat landed just past first base.

I was looking at the ball because I hit it on the good part of the bat, he said. I felt the bat break, but I saw the ball still going. So I was kind of trying to see if it was going to hook around the pole or keep going or what.

Marco Scutaro left in the middle of the fourth inning because of dizziness. After the game he said he felt light-headed during batting practice, saying an energy drink could have caused it.

Im feeling batter now, kind of calmed down. Was a little dizzy, he said after the game.

I just felt kind of dizzy and my heart beat was kind of fast, a little shaky, he said.

It started during BP and then I came up here to the clubhouse and I ate something, and feeling kind of good. But when the game started, I start kind of feeling like that again. But it wasnt as bad as like BP time. And I just told them, they check and everything was fine.

Francona said Scutaro was examined during the game and checked out fine but will be re-examined on Tuesday.

Just not something to play with, Francona said.

Mike Aviles pinch-hit for Scutaro in the fourth, making his Fenway debut as a member of the Sox. He also took Scutaros place at shortstop.

Jed Lowrie, on the DL since June 17 with a left shoulder strain, began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket Monday night, going 0-for-2, playing the first three innings at shortstop. He is expected to serve as the PawSox DH on Tuesday.

Everything was fine physically, Francona said.

Adrian Gonzalez went 1-for-4, extending his hit streak to 11 games, his longest of the season. He is batting.511, going 24-for-47 with three doubles, a home run, 12 RBI, 10 runs scored and 4 walks in that span.

Dustin Pedroia went 2-for-5, extending his home hit streak to 23 games since June 4. He is batting .419 in that span. It is the third longest home hitting streak by a Sox batter since 1919, and the longest since Nomar Garciaparras 31-game stretch from April 20 June 28, 2003.

Carl Crawfords third-inning home run was his seventh of the season and first since June 8 at Yankee Stadium. It was just his second home run of the season at Fenway. The other was June 5 against the As.

There is no official word on right-hander Clay Buchholz, who was examined by Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles Monday. It is believed the right-hander has a stress fracture in his back and could be shut down for the season. The teams medical staff, general manager Theo Epstein, and Buchholz were expected to talk about Watkins findings. Francona said there could be some news after Mondays game or on Tuesday.

The scheduled pitching match-ups for the series against the Indians are John Lackey and Cleveland right-hander Josh Tomlin Monday night, Josh Beckett and left-hander David Huff on Tuesday, Tim Wakefield and Carlos Carrasco (who will appeal his six-game suspension) on Wednesday, and Bedard and right-hander Justin Masterson on Thursday. Lester, Lackey, and Beckett are expected to start the three games against the Yankees at Fenway Park this weekend.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.

Shaughnessy provides details of Price-Eckersley confrontation

Shaughnessy provides details of Price-Eckersley confrontation

The Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy, citing "six people who witnessed . . . the incident", provided details Sunday of the confrontation between current Red Sox pitcher David Price and Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley, now a part-time member of the Sox broadcast team, on a recent team flight from Boston to Toronto.

As earlier reported, Price berated Eckersley over innocuous on-air comments by Eck regarding a rehab start by Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez. From Shaughnessy:

On the day of the episode, Price was standing near the middle of the team aircraft, surrounded by fellow players, waiting for Eckersley. When Eckersley approached, on his way to the back of the plane (Sox broadcasters traditionally sit in the rear of the aircraft), a grandstanding Price stood in front of Eckersley and shouted, “Here he is — the greatest pitcher who ever lived! This game is easy for him!’’

When a stunned Eckersley tried to speak, Price shot back with, “Get the [expletive] out of here!’’

Many players applauded.

Eckersley made his way to the back of the plane as players in the middle of the plane started their card games. In the middle of the short flight, Eckersley got up and walked toward the front where Sox boss Dave Dombrowski was seated. When Eckersley passed through the card-playing section in the middle, Price went at him again, shouting, “Get the [expletive] out of here!’’

When Price was asked about it the next day, he said only, “Some people just don’t understand how hard this game is.’’

Price later said he was merely standing up for his teammates and "[whatever] crap I catch for that, I’m fine with it.’’

Shaughnessy, citing "three people close to Eckersley," reported that neither Price nor manager John Farrell has apologized to Eckersley.

Drellich: The pros and cons of Rafael Devers' promotion

Drellich: The pros and cons of Rafael Devers' promotion

BOSTON — Rafael Devers is here and there’s a bundle of reasons to be excited. There’s reason, too, to be skeptical. 

WATCH: Did Sox make right move? / BASEBALL SHOW PODCAST: On Devers

Here is a look at the potential pros and cons, depending on Devers’ success. We’ll start with the good as the 20-year-old top prospect heads to the big leagues for the first time.

PROS

Infusion of energy

In the same way a trade can bring a boost of morale, so too can the promotion of a top prospect. It’s new blood walking through the door, either way. There’s help for a group of hitters — and by extension, pitchers lacking run support — who need to see a lift from the front office. Sox manager John Farrell previously acknowledged the sense of anticipation leading up to the trade deadline. The mood heading into Devers’ first game should be an exciting one.

Production

Virtually anything is better than what the Sox have had offensively at third base. Devers’ minor league hitting has been a spectacle. They wanted to see how he adjusted to Double-A pitching and he did so admirably. He walked into Triple-A and kept raking, with three hits in his final game. The ceiling is very high.

Trade leverage

Theoretically this applies to Devers directly. If the Sox wanted to deal him, he’d be worth more as a big leaguer with some success. But if we believe everything the Sox say, they don’t want to trade him. They’d be crazy to do so. Leverage, then, comes in another form. Those teams that the Sox have talked to about third-base help, or hitting help, in general now get a message from the Sox of “Hey, we don’t need you.” Potentially, any way.

Feet wet for the future

A taste isn’t always a good thing, but it often is. One way or another, the Red Sox have to hope that Devers’ first stint in the big leagues lays the groundwork for the future. Growing pains might be inevitable but in some way, the sooner he can go through them, the better. If he comes off the bench at times, that’ll be a new experience he can have under his belt, although you wouldn’t expect he’ll need that skill too much early in his career.

Prospects saved, or repurposed

It’d still be a stunner if the Sox don’t make a trade at the deadline. It just wouldn’t be the Dombrowski way to stay idle. But Devers’ arrival might allow for a different allocation of resources. Whatever prospects the Sox were willing to put toward a third-base upgrade could go toward another bat, or a reliever or both.

CONS

Uncertainty

This is the biggest concern. Even if Devers rakes for the first week and thereby convinces the Red Sox they don’t need to trade for a third baseman, what does one week really tell them? A month isn’t really enough, either, but it would have been a lot better. (There is always the possibility of a trade in August.) Devers is still missing what the position has been missing all along — a known quantity. Someone with a major league track record, someone who can provide as much certainty as can reasonably be found.

Public about-face

Promoting Devers to the majors for the purposes of evaluation ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline would have been wiser at the start of July. He was raking after two months at Portland. It’s clear the Sox didn’t intend to move Devers with this kind of speed. They’ve adjusted on the fly, which is necessary sometimes, but Dombrowski said on July 14 — the day Devers was moved to Triple-A — that "I don't want to put it on his back that we're counting on him in a pennant race.” Didn’t take long for that to change.

Defense

Devers made four errors in 12 games at Pawtucket and has 16 in 72 games between there and Portland. One scout who has seen Devers doesn’t think he’s ready defensively yet. From there, it’s worth noting the context at this position: how chaotic third base has been for the Sox this season. Basic plays were not made for a time, and that’s how Deven Marrero ended up with a job. A drop off in defense is fine, but repeated errors on routine plays won’t work, particularly at a position where the Sox have already lived those woes.

Development

It’s a natural worry for a 20-year-old kid: if he doesn’t do well, can he handle it mentally? He wouldn’t be in the big leagues if the Sox didn’t think so. At the same time, you run the risk of a slow-down for a player who was chugging right along. Devers is poised to share time for now, which means he may well come off the bench, something he hasn’t had to do.

Loss of leverage

If Devers looks bad for a week — as in, truly overmatched — the Sox aren’t going to have any better position for a trade for an established infielder or bat. If anything, the potential trade partner would gain ground.