Notes: Scutaro an unlikely hero versus Yankees

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Notes: Scutaro an unlikely hero versus Yankees

By SeanMcAdam and MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- In a convincing 4-0 victory over the New York Yankees Sunday, the offensive star was an unlikely one.

Shortstop Marco Scutaro came into the game with just 3 hits in 21 at-bats and sat out Saturday while Terry Francona gave a start at short to Jed Lowrie.

Scutaro worked two walks off CC Sabathia in his first two plate appearances, but the heroics took place in the seventh against reliever Joba Chamberlain.

Scutaro came to the plate with bases loaded and one out in the seventh and the Sox clinging to a 1-0 lead. He promptly drove a pitch from Chamberlain into the corner in left, upping the Sox' lead to 3-0.

"I was just trying to look for a pitch I could handle,'' said Scutaro. "The first pitch was a slider, it was kind of down and away. Then I was just looking for a fastball, a pitch I can at least hit a fly ball on or something.''

After a slow start offensively, Scutaro was relieved to make a contribution.

"It's nice, especially with the situation we're in right now,'' he said. "We're just trying to get out of this slump. so it's always nice when you come through like that. It feels good.

"We wanted to score a couple more runs for Josh Beckett. He was throwing the ball so good, and we wanted a couple more so he could relax a little bit.''

Francona on Dustin Pedroia, who went 9-for-13 in the series:

I think he almost wills himself to help us win.

The Red Sox shut out the Yankees for the first time since a 7-0 Beckett win win in June 9, 2009 at Fenway.

Red Sox pitchers last held the Yankees to two hits on Sept. 10, 1999 at Yankee Stadium, and last did it at Fenway Park on June 7, 1990.

The Red Sox busted out for a season-high 12 hits, but also left 16 runners on base. They left at least one runner on base in every inning.

We got a lot of hits and we also left a lot of men on base, manager Terry Francona said. Some of thats CC Sabathia. Hes not only good . . . but hes a very intelligent pitcher. He knows who he wants to face, maybe who he wants to pitch around. Hes very good about that. We have left some men on. Fortunately the way Beckett pitched, it didnt matter tonight.

J.D. Drew has reached safely in all seven games hes played this season, including hitting in six straight. He is 7-for-20 (.350) in that stretch.

The game marked the first time neither team hit a home run in a game between the Red Sox and Yankees since April 26, 2009.

At 2:56 it was the shortest game between the Red Sox and Yankees at Fenway Park since a 2:49 game on April 12, 2008, a 4-3 Red Sox win.

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

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

Report: Third base among 'major upgrades' Red Sox seek by trade deadline

Report: Third base among 'major upgrades' Red Sox seek by trade deadline

Despite still being owed more than $42 million after this year, Pablo Sandoval's days with the Red Sox appear numbered. So, it's no surprise that landing a third baseman at the trade deadline is a priority.

That's among the "major upgrades" the Sox are seeking by the July 31 deadline, MLB.com columnist Mark Feinsand reports.

With Sandoval now on his second disabled list stint of the season - this time with an ear infection - after turning into what Feinsand calls "a horror tale for the Red Sox," and with fill-ins Josh Rutledge and Deven Marrero holding down third, it's apparent that the position is a glaring need.

"Sandoval is basically a non-entity at this point," a source told Feinsand. "They need to make a move there."

Feinsand mentions the usual suspects - Mike Moustakas of the Royals and Todd Frazier of the White Sox - as possibilities. Also, he wonders if former MVP Josh Donaldson could be pried away from the Blue Jays (if "Dave Dombrowski knocks their socks off") with an offer and if Toronto is still sputtering at the deadline?

Those other upgrades? "Boston is also looking for pitching, both in the rotation and bullpen," Feinsand writes. Again, no surprise there.

Drellich: Red Sox' talent drowning out lack of identity

Drellich: Red Sox' talent drowning out lack of identity

A look under the hood is not encouraging. A look at the performance is.

The sideshows for the Red Sox have been numerous. What the team’s success to this point has reinforced is how much talent and performance can outweigh everything else. Hitting and pitching can drown out a word that rhymes with pitching — as long as the wins keep coming.

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At 40-32, the Sox have the seventh-best win percentage (.556) in the majors. What they lack, by their own admission, is an intangible. Manager John Farrell told reporters Wednesday in Kansas City his club was still searching for its identity.

“A team needs to forge their own identity every year,” Farrell said. “That’s going to be dependent upon the changes on your roster, the personalities that exist, and certainly the style of game that you play. So, with [David Ortiz’s] departure, his retirement, yeah, that was going to happen naturally with him not being here. And I think, honestly, we’re still kind of forming it.”

To this observer, the vibe in the Red Sox clubhouse is not the merriest. 

Perhaps, in the mess hall, the players are a unified group of 25 (or so), living for one another with every pitch. What the media sees is only a small slice of the day. 

But it does not feel like Farrell has bred an easygoing, cohesive environment.

Farrell and big boss Dave Dombrowski appeared unaligned in their view of Pablo Sandoval’s place on the roster, at least until Sandoval landed on the disabled list. 

Hanley Ramirez and first base may go together like Craig Kimbrel and the eighth inning. Which is to say, selfless enthusiasm for the ultimate goal of winning does not appear constant with either.

Dustin Pedroia looked like the spokesperson of a fractured group when he told Manny Machado, in front of all the cameras, “It’s not me, it’s them,” as the Orioles and Red Sox carried forth a prolonged drama of drillings. 

Yet, when you note the Sox are just a half-game behind the Yankees for the American League East lead; when you consider the Sox have won 19 of their past 30 games, you need to make sure everything is kept in proportion.

How much are the Sox really hurt by a lack of identity? By any other issue off the field?

Undoubtedly, the Sox would be better positioned if there were no sideshows. But it’s hard to say they’d have ‘X’ more wins.

The Sox would have had a better chance of winning Wednesday’s game if Kimbrel pitched at any point in the eighth inning, that’s for sure. 

Kimbrel is available for one inning at this point, the ninth, Farrell has said.

A determination to keep Kimbrel out of the eighth because that’s not what a closer traditionally does seems like a stance bent on keeping Kimbrel happy rather than doing what is best for the team. The achievement of a save has been prioritized over the achievement of a team win, a state of affairs that exists elsewhere, but is nonetheless far from ideal — a state of affairs that does not reflect an identity of all for one and one for all.

Maybe the Sox will find that identity uniformly. Maybe they’re so good, they can win the division without it.