Red Sox fall to Indians, 1-0, swept in series

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Red Sox fall to Indians, 1-0, swept in series

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

CLEVELAND -- The misery continued for the Red Sox Wednesday, shutout by the Cleveland Indians, 1-0, for their sixth straight loss in as many games to open the season, matching their worst start since 1945.

The two teams were locked in a scoreless pitcher's duel until the Indians broke through in the eighth. Daniel Bard walked No. 9 hitter Adam Everett, who stole second and took third on a sacrifice bunt.

Asdrubal Cabrera then perfectly executed a suicide squeeze bunt, scoring Everett from third.

The Sox wasted a terrific outing from starter Jon Lester, who limited the Indians to three hits while walking three and striking out nine. Lester's outing was the first quality start of the year.

The final out of the game when pinch-runner Darnell McDonald make too wide a turn at second and was cut down by Everett.
Star of the Game: Asdrubal Cabrera.

On Wednesay, Cabrera blasted a back-breaking three-run homer against the Red Sox to put the game away. Thursday afternoon, he was much more subtle, executing a suicide squeeze in the bottom of the eighth to account for the only run of the game.

Cabrera had struck out in each of his three previous at-bats against Jon Lester, but got the bunt down when he had to against Daniel Bard.

Honorable Mention: Jon Lester.

Lester pitched like a true No. 1 when he needed to -- seven shutout innings, three hits allowed, nine strikeouts --- though it didn't result in a win.

This was a different Lester than the Sox saw on Opening Day when he gave up three homers and didn't record a single strikeout. His velocity was better today as he did everything he could get the Sox into the win column.

One good thing from Thursday's start: it appears as though Lester has solved his early-season woes. In 2009, he didn't pitch well until mid-May; In 2010, he turned it around after four bad starts. This year? It took just one.

Goat of the Game: Daniel Bard.

Bard has now pitched in three games this season and has lost two of them. The first was Opening Day when he allowed a two-run pinch-double to David Murphy, which kicked up chalk on the foul line. Thursday, he came into a scoreless game and promptly walked the leadoff hitter -- No. 9 in the Cleveland order -- to begin the unraveling.

Turning Point: In a 1-0 loss, there are no shortage of key plays, including the Red Sox failure to break through with two runners in scoring position and two out in the eighth.

But the leadoff walk to Adam Everett in the bottom of the eighth has to be the choice here. Everett then stole second, took third on a sacrifice and scored the only run of the afternoon when Cabrera got down a perfect suicide squeeze.

By the Numbers: 1-for-14 - combined totals from Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon for the Red Sox with runners in scoring position.

Quote of Note: "We're frustrated as hell right now. We never thought we'd be here (0-6), but we are, so we've got to deal with it.'' -- Kevin Youkilis.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but it appears the Bruins made a mistake buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg from the final couple of years of his contract. 

Seidenberg just finished up a wildly successful stint with host Team Germany at the IIHF World Championships, where he was named Directorate Best Defenseman (the tournament’s best defenseman) after leading all D-men with a goal and eight points. This came after Seidenberg, at age 35, posted 5 goals and 22 points in 73 games for the Islanders, with whom he signed after being cut loose by the B's, while averaging a shade under 20 minutes per game.  Seidenberg also had an excellent World Cup of Hockey tournament for Team Europe last summer (where he was teamed once again with Zdeno Chara), thus managing to play at a high level from September all the way through May.

A faction of Bruins fans thought he was on the serious decline after the 2015-16 season and, clearly, the Bruins agreed, opting to buy him out with two more years still left on a sizable contract extension. (They owe him $2.16 million next season and then will be charged $1.16 million on their salary cap over the next two seasons.) But the B's could have used a durable, defensive warrior like Seidenberg in the playoffs, when they lost three of their top four defensemen against the Ottawa Senators. A rejuvenated Seidenberg, able to play both the left and right side, would have been a better option than Colin Miller.

The Bruins made a conscious decision to hand things over to younger defensemen like Miller, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Joe Morrow in cutting ties with Seidenberg. But they also perhaps miscalculated how much Seidenberg still had left in the tank after his best season in at least three years. 

“Well, at the time we felt like [Seidenberg's] game had really dropped off to where we thought he couldn’t contribute, and we wanted to see if some younger players could come in and help us out,” Bruins president Cam Neely said at the end-of-the-season press conference earlier this month. “I’ve got to say he played well this year for Long Island. But at the time we thought it was the right move. You can’t envision us having three of our top four D’s get hurt [in the playoffs]. We went through a lot of D’s in the postseason. You can’t predict that.”

Neely is referring to the decision made after Seidenberg’s second straight minus season in Boston, when back injuries and a major knee injury had seemed to slow him down a bit. It seemed the only way to properly evaluate some of their other, younger defenseman was to cut Seidenberg loose, but one has to wonder if the Bruins would have possibly done it had they known he was still capable of playing like he did this season for the Islanders. 

Either way, the buyout of Seidenberg is an extremely legitimate second guess of Bruins management in a year where they did a lot of things right.