Red Sox find a way to lose to Tribe, 8-4


Red Sox find a way to lose to Tribe, 8-4

By SeanMcAdam

CLEVELAND -- Just when it seemed like the Red Sox had run out of ways to lose games in the first week, they found some more Wednesday night.

After falling victim to poor starting pitching and an anemic offense in the first four contests, the Red Sox combined poor relief work and a mental lapse to lose 8-4 to the Cleveland Indians, dropping them to 0-5. With a loss in the road trip finale Thursday afternoon, they can return for their home opener with their worst start to a season since 1945.

The Sox trailed 3-2 in the sixth when it all fell apart for them. Dennys Reyes faced three hitters and put all three on base -- two by hit batsman and another by walk. With the bases loaded, Kevin Youkilis couldn't glove a liner by Michael Brantley. Youkilis stepped on third for one force out, but when he threw to the plate, catcher Jason Varitek failed to tag Travis Buck, instead stepping on the plate.

Asdrubal Cabrera then drove a three-run homer into the seats in right off Dan Wheeler, capping a four-run inning.

The Sox stitched together two runs in the second on an infield chopper by Marco Scutaro and an RBI groundout by Jacoby Ellsbury. Adrian Gonzalez added a two-run homer, his first homer as a member of the Red Sox, in the seventh.

Starter Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed three runs in five innings, needing 96 pitches to record 15 outs. The Sox have yet to get a quality start after one full turn through their rotation.

STAR OF THE GAME: Asdrubal Cabrera
The Cleveland second baseman delivered the crushing blow, a three-run homer off Dan Wheeler in the four-run sixth that put the game effectively out of reach.

Both Wheeler and Jason Varitek maintained that Wheeler's pitch -- a two-seamer down and in -- was where the Sox wanted it to be and credited Cabrera with a good at-bat.

Cabrera also chipped in with a run-scoring single in the second to account for the third Cleveland run of the night.

Choo, the Indians' best player, snapped an 0-for-13 hitless streak with a two-run homer in the first off Daisuke Matsuzaka. It was Choo's first homer of the season and gave the Indians their first lead of the night.

GOAT: Dennys Reyes
There were plenty of culprits contributing to the Red Sox' fifth straight setback, but Reyes was perhaps the most obvious.

Brought in to pitch the bottom of the sixth with the Sox trailing 3-2, the plan was for Reyes to face "six or seven'' guys and get the Sox through the seventh inning.

Instead, Reyes couldn't find the strike zone with a GPS. He threw 12 pitches, 11 of them for balls and failed to get out a single hitter. He hit the first two Indians he faced, leaving the bases loaded for Wheeler.

With the bases loaded and no out in the sixth, Michael Brantley lined to Kevin Youkilis at third. Youkilis, torn between trying to catch the ball and letting it drop so as to start a double play, reached for the liner, only to have it drop out of his glove.

He stepped on third to force out Matt LaPorta, but that took the force out at home. Youkilis threw to the plate where Jason Varitek needed to tag oncmoing runner Travis Buck. But because Varitek didn't see Youkilis step on the bag, he simply stood at home as he received the throw, not realizing he needed to tag Buck.

With Buck safe, the inning unraveled further when Cabrera launched his three-run shot to right.

The Red Sox were a woeful 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, stranding seven -- including runners at third base three times in the span of four innings.

"This game will humble you in a hurry and it's doing that to us right now...Sometimes winning's not easy. Sometimes you're on a roll and everything's going your way. But when it's not, we've got to find a way to win a game.'' -- Terry Francona

Sean McAdam can be reached at Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Webber, Massimino among the Hall of Fame finalists


Webber, Massimino among the Hall of Fame finalists

NEW ORLEANS - Chris Webber and Rollie Massimino are one step from the Hall of Fame.

The career 20-point-per-game NBA scorer and the coach who led Villanova to a stunning upset of Georgetown in the 1985 NCAA championship game were among the 14 finalists unveiled Saturday for this year's Basketball Hall of Fame induction class.

Webber played 15 seasons with five franchises, plus was part of Michigan's famed "Fab Five" group that headlined college basketball in the early 1990s.

"I don't know what I'm most proud of," said Webber, who averaged 20.7 points and 9.8 rebounds in his career and was a five-time NBA All-Star. "I'm proud to be in the room with all these great individuals."

Other first-time Hall of Fame finalists include longtime NBA referee Hugh Evans, Connecticut women's star Rebecca Lobo, two-time NBA scoring champion Tracy McGrady, five-time All-Star Sidney Moncrief, Baylor women's coach Kim Mulkey, Kansas coach Bill Self, and two-time NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich.

"I still can't believe I'm here," McGrady said. "This is not even a dream come true."

Previous finalists returning to the ballot include star point guard and Olympic gold medalist Tim Hardaway, winningest all-time boys high school coach Robert Hughes, Notre Dame women's coach Muffet McGraw, former Wisconsin coach and four-time Division III national champion Bo Ryan and 10-time AAU women's national champion team Wayland Baptist University.

"We are grateful to the 14 finalists in the Class of 2017 for the impact they have had on the game we cherish," Basketball Hall of Fame Chairman Jerry Colangelo said. "To be named a finalist for the Basketball Hall of Fame is an incredible accomplishment."

Inductees will be announced at the Final Four on April 3. Enshrinement ceremonies in Springfield, Massachusetts are scheduled for Sept. 7-9.

Massimino, now an 82-year-old cancer survivor who is still coaching at NAIA school Keiser University in West Palm Beach, Florida, is a finalist for the first time. His Hall of Fame hopes have been backed by plenty of current and former coaches in recent months - including current Villanova coach Jay Wright, who presented Massimino with a championship ring from the Wildcats' 2016 NCAA title.

"Some days, we do take him for granted," Keiser guard Andrija Sarenac said. "But then you see him on TV so much, you see all these videos made about him, the movies about Villanova and everything, and it just hits you. You realize that he's a legend. I mean, your coach is a walking legend. With the energy and everything he comes in with, it's inspiring."

Finalists need 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee to be enshrined. Among this year's candidates who did not make the finalist group: Muggsy Bogues, Ben Wallace, Kevin Johnson, Maurice Cheeks, Mark Price, Lefty Driesell and Eddie Sutton.

Former New York Times sports writer Harvey Araton and former Turner Sports broadcaster Craig Sager will be recognized during Hall of Fame weekend as this year's Curt Gowdy Media Award recipients.

"A tremendous honor," said Sager's wife Stacy.

This year's lifetime achievement award recipients are former UConn coach Donald "Dee" Rowe and Michael Goldberg, who spent nearly four decades as executive director of the NBA Coaches Association. Goldberg died earlier this year.

"He bridged the gap between ownership and coaches," said New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry, who spoke about Goldberg on Saturday while wearing a bow tie - one of the signature wardrobe accessories that Goldberg donned for years. "He was just such a great guy."

Dombrowski: There's a lot of talent on this Red Sox team

Dombrowski: There's a lot of talent on this Red Sox team

Trenni Kusnierek talks with Dave Dombrowski about the Red Sox clubhouse and their expectations for the 2017 season.