Offensive outage continues to plague Sox

809880.jpg

Offensive outage continues to plague Sox

BOSTON The Red Sox have scored in just one inning in each of the three contests. Thanks to Cody Ross three-run walk-off home run Thursday night, they have been able to salvage one win in that span.

But they cant hope to be successful for long with that kind of approach. It showed Saturday night, as they lost to the Blue Jays, 7-3, for the second straight game.

The Sox scored in only the second inning, on Jarrod Saltalamacchias three-run homer into the visitors bullpen in right field. After that, the Sox could muster just two hits over the remaining seven innings a Pedro Ciriaco bunt in the fifth, and a Dustin Pedroia single to right in the eighth.

Yeah, we got to add on, thats for sure, said manager Bobby Valentine. We have to put some stuff together. But its a little different mix of guys that go out there and maybe will start getting used to each other.

On Friday, the Sox scored their lone run in the ninth inning, en route to a 6-1 loss. The dearth of production over the three games coincides, somewhat, with David Ortiz absence from the lineup. Ortiz suffered a strained Achilles tendon in his right foot rounding the bases on Adrian Gonzalez eighth-inning home run Monday night.

Well, every team misses an Ortiz, Valentine said. But we can win without David.

The Sox are 2-3 in Ortizs absence. The two wins came against the White Sox, a 10-1 thumping on Wednesday, and Thursdays 3-1 walk-off.

"Especially in our division, teams keep coming after you and coming after you, said Pedroia, who went 1-for-4 Saturday. We need to try to separate ourselves. There's nothing wrong with getting a five, six-run lead. Other than the White Sox game where we scored a bunch, it's been close. We need to make sure we have better at-bats and try to pull away.

"We feel like we have a great team. We just need to be more consistent, be consistent offensively, pitching, running the bases, playing good D. If we do everything better, we're going to run off a lot more than five or six in a row so. We need to do that."

Perhaps, as Valentine mentioned, it is because of the continuously different mix of players on the field and the various lineups. Saturday, both Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Aviles were on the bench. Ellsbury for medical reasons, after missing 79 games on the DL with a subluxation of his right shoulder. Aviles because he has turf toe. In Ellsburys place, Daniel Nava, who has been struggling at the plate lately (with just two hits in last 26 at-bats), batted lead-off. Nava went 0-for-3.

Consistent playing time is obviously better, said Saltalamacchia, who sat out the previous three game and whose second-inning home run snapped an 0-for-14 slide. It helps you. Your timings better. But I think those guys that have been coming off the DL, like Ellsbury and Carl Crawford have been doing a great job. For the guys that arent getting as much playing time, yeah, its a little tougher. But at the same time, we just got to go out there and take it pitch to pitch. Not do too much.

Saltalamacchia said he is not concerned the team has only been able to muster runs in one inning over the last three games.

Im not concerned with it one bit, he said. Just got to continue to go out. We got to go out there and we got to get some pitches to hit. Do a better job at it.

Drellich: Pomeranz lessens heat on Dombrowski's trade history

Drellich: Pomeranz lessens heat on Dombrowski's trade history

BOSTON — Drew Pomeranz is helping out Dave Dombrowski’s balance sheet in Boston.

The Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel trades have been awesome — beyond awesome, even. The Tyler Thornburg deal looks like a disaster that, maybe someday, Dombrowski will acknowledge rather than sidestep. The Carson Smith deal has produced, if nothing else, no gain. The Fernando Abad deal has not hurt the Sox, and he’s had some decent moments.

But the Pomeranz trade with the Padres, for just top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza, stood as the most controversial of Dealer Dave’s moves until the past couple months. Now, the Cult of Travis Shaw has slowly made folks forget about Espinoza and the complicated set of circumstances that surrounded that trade.

“Rescind” is something you’re hearing less and less. 

It’s remarkable what a 2.70 ERA in a 40-inning, seven-start stretch can do. Pomeranz is looking like a lot shinier these days, particularly after Tuesday night, when he came back out despite a rain delay of more than an hour in a 9-2 win over the Twins.

From the day that 40-inning stretch began, May 25, through Tuesday, only four qualified starters posted a better ERA in the American League: Corey Kluber (1.29), Jason Vargas (2.27), Jordan Montgomery (2.52) and Mike Pelfrey (2.64).

For comparison: Chris Sale is 10th in that stretch, at 3.54. Rick Porcello has 6.08 ERA in the same time.

Realistically, where the Sox stood last season, they needed Pomeranz. He was healthy enough to throw. That’s the reality everyone who wanted the deal undone always undersold: the back of the rotation was crumbling. 

But that was just one layer of the deal.

The Padres did not provide as much medical information as they should have, and the Sox stuck with Pomeranz despite the opportunity to look elsewhere.

Espinoza hasn’t pitched for a Padres minor league affiliate yet this season. He’s playing catch from flat ground as he comes back from a forearm injury, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported recently. 

Trades, to this observer, are typically best evaluated by reviewing the process behind them — which is to say, by looking back at the information was available at the time the deal was made. And at the time, it was known that the Sox were paying for Pomeranz beyond just last season's second half. They were paying for a controllable arm who could help out the rotation this year too.

Dombrowski may well have acquired Pomeranz at his peak value, which is unsurprising. But what mattered most was whether the team believed Pomeranz could contribute effectively beyond 2016. That, once they had all the health information, whether they properly evaluated what it would mean for his future.

It looked bad when Pomeranz started the season on the disabled list. He had a stem-cell injection in his forearm in the winter, too. There wasn’t much to hang your hat on at the start of April. 

Realistically, Pomeranz probably isn’t 100 percent right now. Even within the relative world of pro baseball — where no one is ever 100 percent — Pomeranz is probably further from it than most. 

But he's powered through. Pomeranz’s attitude might actually fit Boston better than most realize. He also is, whether people want to acknowledge it or not, a pitcher with a high ceiling in terms of ability (if not innings).

He also is, whether people want to acknowledge it or not, a pitcher with a high ceiling in terms of ability (if not innings).

How Pomeranz holds up is to be seen. But the team’s judgment that he would have value beyond last season, a value worth surrendering Espinoza for, is looking better and better.

Francona misses second game this month because of health issues

Francona misses second game this month because of health issues

CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Terry Francona missed Tuesday night's game against Texas after his second trip to the hospital this month.

The Indians said doctors for now have ruled out major health issues and Francona will be monitored the next several weeks.

Francona, 58, left Monday night's game because he wasn't feeling well. He spent several hours at Cleveland Clinic and underwent a series of tests.

Francona was released from the hospital on Tuesday and spent the rest of the day at home. He was expected to return to the dugout Wednesday when the Indians host the Rangers. Cleveland lost to Texas 2-1 on Tuesday.

Bench coach Brad Mills ran the team in Francona's absence. Cleveland began the day in first place in the AL Central after rallying for a 15-9 win Monday.

"Tito actually wanted to come back to the ballpark today," team president Chris Antonetti said Tuesday. "I told him he can't come back to the ballpark today. He only got a couple hours of sleep last night, so despite his desire to want to be here, I thought it was best that he gets some rest tonight and just come back tomorrow. His plan when he was getting released from the hospital was to come over here."

"I don't think he was exceedingly happy with me," Antonetti said with a laugh. "That's OK."

Francona was hospitalized June 13 following a game at Progressive Field. He underwent tests and was released a few hours later, returning to work the following night. Last August, he missed a game after experiencing chest pains but was back the next day.

"Thankfully, we've got some great doctors that are coordinating his care," Antonetti said. "They've done every test they can possibly imagine. They've all come back clean. They're now working to try to figure out what are some of those things that are causing him to not feel so well."

Francona, a close friend of Mills for several years, has retained his sense of humor through his health issues.

A statement released by the team Tuesday read, "Mr. Francona also wanted to express that medical personnel have not yet ruled out an allergy to Bench Coach Brad Mills."