Tales of a one-trick pony

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Tales of a one-trick pony

Back in college, I spent more time playing video games than I should probably admit . . . but Ill still admit it proudly. From Madden and NBA 2K to Mario Kart and 007, my roommates and I competed more with the sticks than we did in any other form of life.

Madden was the odds on favorite, as we held tournaments almost every day after class, and let the intensity reach all kinds of unhealthy and pathetic levels. Eventually, our tournaments were a lot like the NFL, with different players adopting different styles and unique Madden identities.

If youre familiar with the game, you know what I mean. You know there was the guy who ran the ball too much. The guy who threw too many long balls. The guy who always went for it on fourth down. The guy who relied far too much on computer assistance.

And of course, the guy who only knew how to run one play.

Every Madden player hadhas a friend like this.

In some cases, it was a screen pass. In others, a tight end out or a simple slant pattern. But it was always one play the same play every time that you knew this particular opponent would go to whenever he was in trouble. Naturally, knowing it was coming was one thing; stopping it was another. After all, the only reason he ran it so much was because he was so damn good at doing so.

For the most part, this one play allowed your buddy to stay competitive, even win a few games along the way, but at the end of the day, it wasnt sustainable. It was only a matter of time before a lack of depth and creativity in his play calling came back to bite him in the ass.

By now youre probably wondering: OK, what the hells your point?

So here it is: The Red Sox are that guy who only has one play and last night, the Angels figured it out.

Honestly, where would the Sox be right now without Clay Buchholz? For the better part of the summer (save for a quick stop on the DL), Buchholz is all they've had. The only pitcher they could count on to step when it mattered most. Before last night, the Sox were 9-2 in Clays last 11 starts a chunk of games that made the difference between this team being competitively mediocre and undeniably disastrous. Granted, neither option is ideal, but youd certainly prefer the former, and Buchholz was the only one keeping that reality within reach.

But last night, not even Clay could save the day, as the Angels lit up Boston's only weapon to the tune of a season-high seven runs over a season-high 12 hits. They took Boston's best play and repeatedly blew it up in the backfield. As the undeniable disaster of this 2012 season continues to slowly set in.

But hey, on the brightside, only got six more days until the release of Madden '13!

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Robbie Ross Jr. is getting elbow checked out

Robbie Ross Jr. is getting elbow checked out

Red Sox reliever Robbie Ross Jr.'s tough 2017 has reached a potentially scary moment.

Expected to be the team's lead lefty out of the bullpen, Ross has twice been demoted and struggled in the majors. Now, he's on the disabled list at Triple-A Pawtucket with inflammation in his throwing elbow — a health situation that might explain why he wasn't pitching well in the big leagues.

The Red Sox expect to know more about Ross' situation later in the week.

Ross hasn't pitched in game for Pawtucket since he was most recently optioned. If the 27-year-old was indeed hurt in the majors, it's possible he could retroactivley wind up on the major league disabled list. Ross was demoted May 19, and is on the DL retroactive to May 25. 

Per BrooksBaseball.net, Ross sat at 93 mph with his fastball on May 12. He dropped down to 92 in the following appearance, and the next two outings were at 91 mph. He averaged 94 mph in 2016.

Ross had a 7.00 ERA in eight major league appearances this year, striking out nine and walking five in nine innings. He posted a 3.25 ERA in a 2016 season where he established himself as a key member of the 'pen.

Ross said he was shocked when he was demoted for the first time this year. 

Robinson Cano, Guillermo Heredia homer in Mariners' 5-0 win over Red Sox

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Robinson Cano, Guillermo Heredia homer in Mariners' 5-0 win over Red Sox

BOSTON (AP)  Christian Bergman rebounded from a miserable start with seven shutout innings and the Seattle Mariners halted Boston's season-high six-game winning streak with a 5-0 victory over the Red Sox on Sunday.

Robinson Cano hit a two-run homer and Guillermo Heredia a solo shot for the Mariners, who averted a three-game sweep with just their second win in nine games. Seattle was shut out the first two games.

Bergman (2-2) allowed four hits, walked two and struck out two. He got a lot of help from his infielders when they turned a double play in each of the first four innings.

Three relievers completed the combined five-hitter, with closer Edwin Diaz getting the final three outs despite two errors by infielders.

Bergman was tagged for 14 hits and 10 runs over four innings in a loss his previous start.

Rick Porcello (3-6) gave up 11 hits, but only two runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Seattle finished one off its club record for most double plays turned in a game.

After being shut out for the first 21 innings of the series, the Mariners moved ahead 1-0 in the fourth when Kyle Seager raced home from third after Porcello bounced a pitch that went over catcher Sandy Leon's right shoulder and onto the screen. Seager had doubled leading off and advanced on Danny Valencia's single.

Heredia homered over the Green Monster in the eighth and Cano sent his into the center-field bleachers an inning later.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, had another bullpen session Sunday because he wasn't happy with one a day earlier.

Red Sox: Manager John Farrell said 3B Pablo Sandoval, out since late April with a sprained right knee, will stay on his rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket to get his "timing going" with more at-bats.

ROSTER MOVES

Seattle sent Saturday's losing pitcher, RHP Rob Whalen, to Triple-A Tacoma and brought up RHP Ryne Harper from the same club.

The Red Sox also made moves with pitchers, sending Saturday's winner, lefty Brian Johnson, to Triple-A Pawtucket and promoting RHP Blaine Boyer for a day. Boyer will go back down Monday when ace David Price is activated.

Boyer made his Red Sox debut, retiring the only two batters he faced.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Sam Gaviglio (0-1, 1.38 ERA) is set to make his third major-league start when they open a two-game series Monday at Colorado. RHP Tyler Chatwood (4-6, 4.50) is scheduled for the Rockies.

Red Sox: LHP Price makes his season debut Monday in Chicago against the White Sox after being sidelined since early spring training with a strained left elbow.

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