Wakefield blown away by A's, 15-5

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Wakefield blown away by A's, 15-5

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON Tim Wakefields quest for career win No. 200 will have to wait for his seventh try, at least, after his sixth attempt proved futile, as the Red Sox fell to the As, 15-5, at Fenway Park Friday night.

Wakefield went four innings, giving up eight runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks, with two strikeouts and a passed ball. His record fell to 6-6 while his ERA climbed to 5.10.

Wakefield gave up a season-high four runs in one inning with six runs in the fourth, when the As sent 10 batters to the plate. The As did all their damage with two outs, capped by two-run home runs by Scott Sizemore and Josh Willingham, and a two-run double by Hideki Matsui.

Gio Gonzalez got the win for the As, improving to 11-11.

The Sox got on the scoreboard first, when Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a double, stole third, and scored on Adrian Gonzalezs single in the first. They added two in the third on back-to-back home runs by Dustin Pedroia, his 17th of the season, tying a career high, and David Ortiz, his 26th. It was the eighth time the Sox have hit consecutive home runs this season.

The As added seven runs over the last three innings. Scott Atchison relieved Wakefield and gave up a run in the seventh, while Matt Albers allowed four in the eighth.

Darnell McDonald pitched the ninth inning, his first professional appearance on the mound. It was the first time a position player has pitched for the Red Sox since Bill Hall on May 28, 2010. McDonald allowed two runs.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Jemile Weeks
Weeks went 3-for-5, with two doubles, three runs scored, and a walk. With a strikeout-passed ball in the fourth inning and a ninth-inning walk, he reached base five times. His three hits match a career high for the ninth time. (He also had three hits against the Yankees on Thursday). His three runs scored tie a career high for the third time. This was his first career game with two doubles, although he has two other games with multiple extra-base hits, each with a double and a triple.

HONORABLE MENTION: Josh Willingham
Willingham went 2-for-5 with a double, a home run, two runs scored, and four RBI. He had one of two two-run homers against Tim Wakefield in the sixth-run fourth inning. It was Willinghams team-leading 23rd homer of the season and 10th in his last 26 games. He also had a two-run double in the ninth off Darnell McDonald for the As final two runs of the game. Willingham has 13 RBI in his last 10 games and a team-high 79 for the season. His eight home runs this month are the most in August since Eric Chavez hit nine in 2004.

THE GOAT: Tim Wakefield
In his sixth attempt for his 200th career win, Wakefield came up empty. He went four innings, his shortest start of the season and shortest outing since two innings against the Rangers on July 15, 2010, giving up eight runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks with three strikeouts and a wild pitch. His record fell to 6-6, while his ERA climbed to 5.10.

Given a 1-0 lead in the first, Wakefield gave it back in the next inning, allowing two runs. From there, the As continued to add on. Wakefield allowed a season-high four runs in an inning, giving up six (two earned) in the fourth, passing his previous high of five in the fifth inning in Baltimore on July 18. It also matches a season high for any Sox pitcher in an inning this season. Wakefield has not earned a win since July 24 against the Mariners.

THE TURNING POINT
With the Sox trailing by just a run going into the fourth, the As scored six runs in the inning, sending 10 batters to the plate. The As scored all their runs in the inning with two outs. The hole was too deep for the Sox or Wakefield to climb out of. Wakefield was done after the inning.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1
In giving up 15 runs, Red Sox pitching fell one run short of its season high, behind only the 16 runs allowed to the Rays on April 11. Wakefield gave up eight runs (four earned) in four innings. Scott Atchison gave up one run in three innings. Matt Albers allowed four runs in one inning. And Darnell McDonald, pitching for the first time since high school, was responsible for two runs in one inning.

QUOTE OF NOTE:
I think the biggest disappointment is that I didnt get deep in the game. Ive got to take my personal numbers and throw them out the window right now. Were trying to hold onto a one-game lead in the East, and the biggest thing coming off a long road trip like that, is to try to win the game, for us, for the team, not for me personally. That 200th win will eventually happen, hopefully. But I think the thing I pride myself most in, is to try to give the club quality innings and get deep in the game, and not have to use the bullpen like we did tonight. -- Tim Wakefield, on the loss

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Rick Porcello starts, Drew Pomeranz relieves in Red Sox' 5-3 loss to Twins

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Rick Porcello starts, Drew Pomeranz relieves in Red Sox' 5-3 loss to Twins

Rick Porcello and Drew Pomeranz combined to allow all five of the Red Sox' runs in Boston's 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Porcello finished his start by fanning four, allowing four hits and earning two runs over four innings. Pomeranz followed in the next four innings with four strikeouts, five hits allowed and three earned runs. Pomeranz allowed ByungHo Park's eighth-inning, two-run homer, which ended up being the game-winner.

Porcello, however, was optimistic after the loss.

"The buildup was good," Porcello told reporters, via RedSox.com. "Today I felt as good as I've felt all spring. At this point, I'm ready to go. I'm looking forward to the start of the season."

While the Sox offense was able to get three runs off Ervin Santana in his 4 2/3 innings, they struggled against the Twins' next five pitchers. Xander Bogaerts (2 of 3) and Pablo Sandoval (1 of 3) managed homers. Hanley (3 of 3) Ramirez had a double, and Dustin Pedroia (2 of 3) had two singles.

Kyle Kendrick will start Thursday in the Sox' final Spring Training series against the Washington Nationals. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. ET.

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who’s on first? A middle infielder, maybe.

Hanley Ramirez, Josh Rutledge and Mitch Moreland aren't fully healthy. So the 25th man on the Red Sox has become a matter of corner-infield triage.

Rutledge was gearing up to play some first base with Ramirez restricted to DH because of his throwing shoulder. But Rutledge is hurt now too, likely headed to the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, Sox manager John Farrell said Wednesday morning in Florida.

Here’s the easiest way to think about who takes Rutledge's place: Who would the Red Sox like to see less against left handed pitching, third baseman Pablo Sandoval or first baseman Mitch Moreland? 

If it’s Sandoval, then you carry Marco Hernandez, who can play third base.

“He’s a very strong candidate,” manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday. “He’s one of a few that are being considered strongly right now.” 

If it’s Moreland, than you carry Steve Selsky, who has a history playing first base.

“He’s a guy we’re having discussions on,” Farrell said. “Any guy in our camp that we feel is going to make us a more complete or balanced roster, Deven Marrero, they’re all in consideration.”

The additional wrench here is that Moreland has the flu. If he's not available at all for a few days to begin the season, then the Sox probably have to carry Hernandez.

Why? Because Brock Holt can play some first base if Moreland is out. But then, you’d need another back-up middle infielder, and Hernandez gives you that. 

Hernandez is also hitting .379 in 58 at-bats this spring entering Wednesday.

Moreland isn’t the only one who has the flu.

"It’s running through our clubhouse," Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday, including the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton. "Probably be held out for three days for a quarantine.” (LINK:http://www.providencejournal.com/sports/20170329/with-josh-rutledge-and-mitch-moreland-ailing-first-base-depth-compromised-for-red-sox)

That means the Red Sox won't have Moreland for their exhibitions against the Nationals on Friday and Saturday in Washington D.C. and Annapolis, Md. Moreland could still be ready for the regular season, but would likely be at less than full strength.

Having Ramirez available would sure make things a lot simpler for the Sox.

Both Sandoval at third base and Moreland could use right-handed bats to complement them. Or more specifically, they could use people who can hit left-handed pitching to complement them.

Hernandez is a left-handed hitter who might actually be able to hit lefties. But the Sox haven't used him at first base, and there's no indication they will.

“As we look at the upcoming games, there is the potential for two left-handed starters in Detroit,” Farrell said. “So there’s a number of things being factored right now.”

Early in spring training, Farrell was asked what player had started to catch his eye.

The guy he mentioned was Selsky, an outfielder and first baseman the Red Sox feel fortunate to have picked up off waivers because he still has minor league options remaining.

Now Selsky, who has already technically been cut from major league spring training, has a chance at making the opening day roster. He's 27 and hit .356 in 45 Grapefruit League at-bats.

Chris Young isn't going to have an easy time finding at-bats as it stands now, but the Sox aren't considering moving him to first base.