Three things we learned about the Red Sox on Tuesday

Three things we learned about the Red Sox on Tuesday
July 30, 2014, 12:30 pm
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BOSTON -- Three things we learned in the Red Sox 4-2 loss to the Blue Jays on Tuesday night:

1. The trade deadline is getting to the team

This really isn't much of a surprise. Even when teams are in a good position in the standings, GMs are always looking to improve in some ways. Players always dread this time.

But with the Sox as sellers, and virtually everybody on the team available for the right price, it just feels a bit like they're all walking on eggs shells even more than usual.

Constant losing can get to you, but hearing your teammates names brought up in trade rumors -- and wondering if you're next (or in Mike Carp's case, hoping you're next) -- puts all that ahead of the game at hand.

Obviously that seemed to be the case Monday night in an embarrassing 14-1 loss, and again on Tuesday when the Sox couldn't get much going offensively (and let's be honest, "Lester Watch" is the story, win or lose).

John Farrell said before the game he expects his players to focus on the game that night and block out the noise, but he knows that it's not that simple. Though David Ortiz has less to fear than virtually anybody else on the roster, Big Papi understands what it does to some.

"That's what always happen by this time of the year," Ortiz said. "This is very uncomfortable until the deadline goes by. It's a situation where everybody doesn't look too comfortable. We got a couple of days still. We'll see."

The thing is, the Sox have played so poorly leading up to the deadline that it's hard to see a big difference in play.

2. This Marcus Stroman guy can pitch

Hey, if the Blue Jays really do want Jon Lester, how about handing over the guy who shut down the Sox Tuesday night?

The Sox had no answers for Stroman Tuesday night, as he went seven innings and only allowed one run on six hits, with two walks with eight strikeouts. Yes, it's the same dude who dominated the Sox last week in Toronto. He apparently had so much fun in that game (8-0 win, 7.0 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 7 SO) that he decided to toy with them again.

But it hasn't just been the Sox that Stroman has had success with. Since June 23, (seven starts) he's 4-0 with a 1.75 ERA and has thrown at least seven innings in each game while allowing one or no runs five times. He's also allowed just one run over his last ;lthree games (21 innings), lowing his ERA from 4.05 to 3.03.

Stroman is just 23 years ago and throws four pitches for strikes including a cutter that, according to Xander Bogaerts, is new to his arsenal.

"I faced him coming up in the minors but he's a really different pitcher right now," Bogaerts said. "He has that slider and the cutter right now. Back then he didn't have that. So he's pitching good. We've seen him twice so hopefully we see him again."

Um, Xander? Look at the stats - you really don't want to see this guy again.

3. Rubby De La Rosa is a reminder of past trades

No matter what happens with Jon Lester, no trade the Sox make in the next two days will be bigger than the one they pulled off with the Dodgers two seasons ago.

That one didn't happen at the deadline, but in late August. While the best part of that deal for Boston was the huge salary dump (they unloaded Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Josh Beckett), they also received four prospects including De La Rosa and Allen Webster (Saturday's scheduled starter).

The jury is still out on both prospects, although Webster's control issues seem to be his biggest problem. De La Rosa still has lots of potential, and while he didn't blow anybody away Tuesday night, he did have a solid outing.

One bad pitch proved to cost him and the Sox the game.

"I thought Rubby gave us an opportunity to win," Farrell said. "He pitched with some men on base. With exception of the 3-and-1 changeup to [Anthony] Gose that doesn't get to the spot for the two-run double on his part, I thought he gave us a solid effort."

De La Rosa allowed three runs on nine hits over six innings - again, not great but not terrible. He's been strong at Fenway, too, holding opponent to three runs or less in all five of his starts this season. He's 3-1 with a 1.97 ERA at Fenway.

If the Sox are to trade Lester, and even John Lackey, they'll count on De La Rosa even more the rest of the way. He'd use the next two months to prove that he belongs in the Sox rotation at the start of the 2015 season.