Sox plundered by Pirates, 6-4

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Sox plundered by Pirates, 6-4

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
PITTSBURGH The Red Sox continued their stumble through Interleague play, dropping their second straight game to the Pirates, 6-4, and fourth straight to National League teams.

In his second start against his former team, Tim Wakefield took the loss, falling to 4-3, with a 4.54 ERA.

Wakefield went six innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and four walks (one intentional), with two wild pitches, two strikeouts, and a home run. He threw 86 pitches, 49 strikes.

He was done in by a four-run fourth inning, when he faced eight Pirates batters. With a two-run lead, Wakefield gave up a 3-run homer to Lyle Overbay and an RBI single to pitcher Jeff Karstens.

Wakefield gave up another run in the next inning, when Chase dArnaud led off with a single followed by Garrett Jones double. DArnaud scored on Dustin Pedroias fourth error of the season, as Andrew McCutchens ground ball went through his legs.

The Pirates added another run in the seventh. Matt Albers, who started the inning, gave up a one-out solo homer to Jones. It was the first home run Albers has allowed since June 8, 2010, spanning 60 games and 77.i innings.

Jeff Karstens earned the win, improving to 5-4 (2.66). He went 6 23 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks with two strikeouts and three home runs. He threw 109 pitches, 68 strikes.

The Sox opened the scoring in the first when Dustin Pedroia walked with one out, stole second and went to third on catcher Mike McKenrys throwing error. He then scored on Adrian Gonzalezs groundout to shortstop Ronny Cedeno.

Solo home runs by Gonzalez in the third, and Josh Reddick and Jacoby Ellsbury in the seventh accounted for the rest of the Sox runs.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Lyle Overbay
With the Pirates trailing by two runs in fourth, Overbays three-run homer in the fourth inning was the big blow they needed. Overbay, who went 1-for-3 with three RBI and an intentional walk, has more home runs, 13, against the Sox than he does against any other team. Although he entered the game hitting .231 for the season, he is batting .307 in his career against the Sox.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jeff Karstens
Karstens had not faced the Red Sox since 2007, while with the Yankees. He went 6 23 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks with two strikeouts, improving his record to 5-4 with a 2.66 ERA. Although he gave up three home runs, they were all solo shots, limiting the damage by the Sox. The Sox had runners on in every inning but the fourth, but could build no momentum against Karstens. In 11 Interleague games (six starts), he is 3-0 with a 3.06 ERA.

THE GOAT: Tim Wakefield
Given a 2-0 lead after three innings, Wakefield could not hold onto it, relinquishing the lead and the game in the fourth. He faced eight Pirates batters in the inning, giving up four runs on four hits and a walk. Wakefield went six innings, giving put five runs on seven hits and four walks (one intentional) with two strikeouts and two passed balls. His record fell to 4-3 with a 4.54 ERA.

THE TURNING POINT
After the Sox got out to an early 2-0 lead, with single runs in the first and third, the Pirates took the lead for good in the fourth. With one out, Andrew McCutchen singled, and Neil Walker walked, setting up Lyle Overbays three-run blast. Ronny Cedeno followed with a double. After Mike McKenry fouled out to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, pitcher Jeff Karstens singled up the middle, scoring Cedeno with his first RBI of the season. Jose Tabata grounded out to end the rally, but the Pirates took a lead they would not relinquish.

STAT OF THE DAY: 1-for-4
David Ortiz entered the game batting 1-for-3 with a home run as a pinch-hitter this season. He has not been in the starting lineup the last two games, as manager Terry Francona has had the difficult decision of sitting Ortiz. In each of the last two games, though, Ortiz has been called up in the late innings to pinch-hit in a crucial spot. Friday he came up in the eighth inning with the tying runs on second and third. On Saturday night, he led pinch-hit to lead off the ninth. Both times he was unsuccessful, making him 1-for-4 in pinch-hit situations this season. Francona said he is unlikely to start Ortiz at first base and Adrian Gonzalez in right field on Sunday, meaning Ortiz could be called on for similar pinch-hit situations.

QUOTE OF THE DAY
Weve lost six in a row before. Weve been 2-10 before. Were human. Everyone puts us out there to win 120 but we got, I dont know how many wins we have now, but whatever we have, we have to get one more.

-Kevin Youkilis on the Sox four-game losing streak

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Farrell: Price to make first Red Sox start Monday in Chicago

Farrell: Price to make first Red Sox start Monday in Chicago

David Price may have allowed six runs in 3 2/3 innings Wednesday night during his second rehab start in Triple-A, but the Red Sox apparently liked what they saw.

MORE ON PRICE

Manager John Farrell announced moments ago that Price will rejoin the Red Sox Monday and start that day's game in Chicago against the White Sox. Farrell said the Sox were more concerned with how Price felt physically after his rehab start, not the results, and they're satisfied he's ready to return.

More to come . . . 

Chili Davis: Red Sox hitters' lack of strikeouts not by design

Chili Davis: Red Sox hitters' lack of strikeouts not by design


BOSTON - The Red Sox aren’t hitting for power as much as they’re expected to and they’re striking out less than anyone. Far less.
 
So, maybe they should just swing harder? 
 
It’s not that simple, considering they have the second-best batting average in the majors, .271, and the third-best on-base percentage, .342.
 
Entering Thursday, the Sox had 300 strikeouts, 34 fewer than the 29th team on the list, the Mets. (The Mets have also played 34 games, while the Sox have already played 36.)
 
In April, when this trend was already evident, Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis was asked if the lack of strikeouts were by design.
 
“I don’t think it’s purposeful,” Davis said. “But that can be a good thing and it could be a bad thing. You know, to me striking out is never good, but it’s how you strike out that matters to me. 
 
“You chase pitches early and you put a guy in a two-strike count and allow him to use his strikeout pitch or his finish pitch, it’s not a good way to strike out. If you’er battling, if you’re taking good swings at pitches, or if the guy’s making pitches, different story. Not striking out because you understand you’re still getting to have a quality at-bat.
 
“To be honest with you, there are guys in certain situations I’d rather see 'em strike out, believe me. And it kind of sounds stupid.”
 
No, it doesn’t. Because in the Moneyball era people started to widely understand that with runners on, a strikeout can be a better outcome than simply putting the ball in play because of the double-play possibility. One out on a swing [or no swing] is a lot better than two.
 
“Exactly,” Davis said. “In a double-play situation, with a big slow guy running and two strikes on him, and he just put the ball in play, he’s done exactly what they wanted him to do.”
 
What a coincidence: the Sox have grounded into more double plays than all but two teams. They’re tied with the Blue Jays with 51, trailing the Astros’ 54.
 
Last year, the Sox had the eighth-most double plays and the fourth-fewest strikeouts. But they also led the majors in slugging percentage, whereas this year they’re in the bottom third. (They’ve perked up in May.)
 
“I don’t think they’re necessarily swinging to not strike out,” Davis said in April. “But, I think the home runs haven’t come because you know, I don’t think we’ve actually gotten on track yet as an offense the way we would like to.”
 
Davis cited the weather, which in Boston has continued to be chilly even into May. Hitters have noted the weather too, but that only goes so far.
 
Sox manager John Farrell on Wednesday noted the team’s draft philosophy.
 
“If you go back to the origin of the players that are here, a lot of them came through our draft and our system,” Farrell said. “So there was a conscious effort to get the more rounded athlete, not a one-dimensional player...Throughout their minor league career, there’s great emphasis on strike-zone discipline, understanding your limits within the zone. That’s not to suggest you’re going to forfeit the power that you have, but to be a more complete hitter, I think that’s going to win you championships rather than being one dimensional.”
 
But much of this year’s lineup is the same as last year’s.
 
In 2017, the Sox are swinging at 44.2 percent of pitches, fewer than all but four teams. Last year, they swung at 44.3 percent of pitches, second-to-last. So, that hasn’t changed.
 
Last year, their contact rate was 81.6 percent, highest in the majors. This year, it’s the second-highest, 80.1. That hasn’t really changed either.
 
Maybe the process hasn’t in fact changed much at all, in fact — but the outcomes are looking different because that’s how it goes sometimes. At the least, it’s something to keep an eye on as the year progresses.