Red Sox notes: One inning dooms Wakefield

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Red Sox notes: One inning dooms Wakefield

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
PITTSBURGH One inning proved to be Tim Wakefields undoing Saturday night, as the Red Sox fell to the Pirates, 6-4, for the second straight game.

With a two-run lead in the fourth, Wakefield faced eight Pirates hitters, with four scoring. Lyle Overbay's three-run homer scoring Andrew McCutchen, who singled, and Neil Walker, who walked -- in the inning was the big blow, followed by an RBI single by Jeff Karstens, scoring Ronny Cedeno, who doubled. It was Karstens first RBI of the season.

Before the fourth, Wakefield had managed to keep the Pirates at bay, retiring them in order in the first and second, and working out of a jam in the third, when he threw two wild pitches, had two runners on base, but managed to hold Pittsburgh off the scoreboard.

Then came the fourth inning.

It was one of those innings where I just fell out of rhythm and gave up a three run homer and that pretty much cost us the game, Wakefield said.

I was just trying to be too quick to the plate. The guys that got on were really fast runners, and I was trying to give catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, in case of a steal, a chance to throw guys out. Lost a little feel and lost a little rhythm.

I think Wake battled his butt off tonight, Saltalamacchia said. He fell behind. Didnt have the consistent strikes that he had the last time. They were putting the ball in play. They got some infield hits. The Overbay home run hurt us but theres nothing you can do about it, 3-2 count, we threw the knuckle. Overbay did a good job.

As he usually does against the Red Sox. For Overbay, who is hitting .307 against the Sox, the home run was his 13th against the Red Sox, more than he has against any other team. He entered the game batting .333 (9-for-27) with one home run and five RBI in his career against Wakefield, while hitting just .231 this season.

Its definitely a tough matchup, Wakefield said. Especially when I feel behind him 2-0. Trying to get back in, throwing fastballs in that situation and I got to 3-2 and I threw a knuckleball that just didnt have anything on it at the end and he hit it out.

In the eighth inning, the Sox had the tying runs on base with two outs and Marco Scutaro at the plate to face lefty Tony Watson. Manager Terry Francona was asked if he considered using David Ortiz to pinch-hit in that situation.

No. I was hoping theyd bring in a righty. Then we would have, he said. We want to hit David next. If they brought in a righty we would have had David hit for Scoot and have Drew Sutton hit next and put him in at short.

Dustin Pedroias fourth error of the season, on Andrew McCutchens fifth-inning grounder allowed the Pirates to score their fifth run, as Chase dArnaud scored from second.

I put my head up to see if the runner was going, to see if the guy that was on second was going to go to third, Pedroia said. And I took my eye off the ball. Thats basically it. I missed it.

The crowd of 49,483 was the largest ever at PNC Park.

Right-hander Bobby Jenks threw one inning in a rehab appearance for Double-A Portland. He went one scoreless inning, giving up one hit, no walks, with one strikeout, throwing 13 pitches, eight for strikes.

Pittsburghs relievers have held the Sox scoreless over a combined 5 13 innings in the first two games of the series.

They got a good staff, Saltalamacchia said. I think Pirates manager Clint Hurdle is doing a great job just mixing them up, putting lefties on lefties, righties on righties, something that the American League's not too used to. But we got to do a better job putting some runs on the board, and just playing solid defense.

Were not familiar with their guys, Pedroia said. Weve seen them once in spring training but thats basically it.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Farrell defends Sox' shoulder program, but he first raised the issue

Farrell defends Sox' shoulder program, but he first raised the issue

Red Sox manager John Farrell didn’t scream “fake news" on Tuesday,  but he might as well have.

The only problem is he seems to be forgetting his own words, and his reliever’s.

Righty Tyler Thornburg is starting his Red Sox career on the disabled list because of a shoulder impingement. 

Another Dave Dombrowski pitching acquisition, another trip to the disabled list. Ho hum.

But the reason Thornburg is hurt, Farrell said, has nothing to do with the Red Sox’ shoulder program -- the same program Farrell referenced when talking about Thornburg earlier this month.

“There’s been a lot written targeting our shoulder program here,” Farrell told reporters on Tuesday, including the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton. “I would discount that completely. He came into camp, he was throwing the ball extremely well, makes two appearances. They were two lengthy innings in which inflammation flared up to the point of shutting him down. But in the early work in spring training, he was throwing the ball outstanding. So to suggest that his situation or his symptoms are now the result of our shoulder program, that’s false.”

Let’s go back to March 10, when Farrell was asked in his usual pregame session with reporters about Thornburg’s status.

"He is throwing long-toss out to 120 feet today," Farrell said that day. “He’s also been going through a strength and conditioning phase, arm-wise. What we encounter with guys coming from other organizations, and whether it's Rick [Porcello], David [Price], guys that come in, and they go through our shoulder maintenance program, there's a period of adaptation they go through, and Tyler’s going through that right now. We're also going to get him on the mound and get some fundamental work with his delivery and just timing, and that's soon to come in the coming days. Right now it's long toss out to 120 feet.”

So Farrell volunteered, after Thornburg was taken out of game action, that the shoulder program appeared involved. 

Maybe that turned out not to be the case. But Farrell's the one who put this idea out there.

On March 11, Farrell was asked to elaborate about other pitchers who needed adjusting to how the Red Sox do their shoulder program.

“Rick Porcello is an example of that. Joe Kelly,” Farrell said. “And that's not to say that our program is the end-all, be-all, or the model for which everyone should be compared. That's just to say that what we do here might be a little more in-depth based on a conversation with the pitchers, that what they've experienced and what we ask them to do here. And large in part, it's with manual resistance movements on the training table. These are things that are not maybe administered elsewhere, so the body goes through some adaptation to get to that point. 

“So, in other words, a pitcher that might come in here previously, he pitched, he’s got recovery time and he goes and pitches again. There's a lot of work and exercise in between the outings that they may feel a little fatigued early on. But once they get those patterns, and that consistent work, the body adapts to it and their recovery times become much shorter. And it's one of the reasons we've had so much success keeping pitchers healthy and on the field.”

Except that Kelly has had a shoulder impingement in his time with the Red Sox, last April, and so too now does Thornburg.

In quotes that appeared in a March 12 story, Thornburg himself told the Herald’s Michael Silverman that he didn’t understand the Red Sox throwing program.

Thornburg said that after the December trade, he was sent a list of exercises from the training staff. The message he did not receive was that all of the exercises were to be performed daily.

“I kind of figured that this is a list of the exercises they incorporated, I didn’t think this is what they do all in one day,” said Thornburg. “I thought, ‘here’s a list of exercises, learn them, pick five or six of them,’ because that was pretty much what we did in Milwaukee.”

But according to Farrell, Thornburg’s current state has nothing to do with the program -- the same one Farrell himself cited when directly asked about Thornburg before.

Maybe the program was the wrong thing to point to originally. But Farrell did point to it.

"This is all still in line with the shoulder fatigue, the shoudler impingement and the subsequent inflammation that he's dealing with. That’s the best I can tell you at this point," Farrell said Tuesday. "Anytime a player, and we've had a number of players come in, when you come into a new organization, there's a period where guys adapt. Could it have been different from what he's done in the past? Sure. But to say it's the root cause, that’s a little false. That’s a lot false, and very short-sighted."

Hey, he started it.

Thornburg is not to throw for a week before a re-evaluation.

Report: Trump won't throw out first pitch

Report: Trump won't throw out first pitch

One White House tradition will have to wait, if it’s in fact maintained.

President Donald Trump is not going to throw out a ceremonial first pitch for the Washington Nationals this season, according to the Washington Post.

Post reporter Barry Svrugula wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that the White House declined an invitation from the Nats.

POLITICO reported early Tuesday morning that Trump was in talks to throw out the first pitch and that it was also possible he could spend an inning in the MASN booth.

President William Howard Taft began the custom of U.S. presidents throwing out a first pitch on April 14, 1910, at National Stadium in D.C.

According to The Week:

“Since Taft, every president not named Jimmy Carter has thrown out at least one Opening Day first pitch. The executive guests of honor followed in Taft's hefty footsteps, throwing the first ball from the stands, until the late 1980s when Ronald Reagan sauntered onto the mound and improved upon the tradition."

The most famous presidential pitch in recent memory is George W. Bush’s toss during the 2001 World Series at Yankee Stadium.

The Nats open their season on Monday at home in Washington D.C., in a 1:05 p.m. game against the Miami Marlins. A Nationals Magic 8 Ball is to be given away to the first 20,000 fans.

The Red Sox happen to play the Nats in a pair of exhibitions right before the season, on Friday and Saturday. Friday’s game is at the Nats’ home park in D.C. Saturday’s game is to be played in Annapolis, Md., at the U.S. Naval Academy.