By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON The Red Sox 7-5 loss to the Orioles Tuesday night at Fenway Park could be their most discouraging loss of the season, falling to the team with the American Leagues second-worst record and the third-worst record in baseball.
There were plenty of reasons for the loss poor pitching, lack of timely hitting (the Sox were 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position) and sloppy defense.
Nursing a tenuous one-run lead in the eighth inning, Daniel Bard gave up two singles with a strikeout in between, before being lifted for Jonathan Papelbon. After another strikeout, Papelbon loaded the bases before giving up the devastating three-run double to O's lead-off batter Robert Andino that crushed the Sox.
The performance of starter Erik Bedard did little to inspire confidence in the starting pitching that has been horrendous this month. Bedard lasted just 2 23 innings, giving up four runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks with no strikeouts. He threw 76 pitches 51 in the third inning, tying a major-league high for one inning this season. Despite his performance, Bedards outing actually lowered the ERA of Sox starting pitchers in September from 6.87 to 6.77.
With one run already across in the top of the third, Josh Reddicks error on what would have been the third out instead opened the door for the Os to add three more runs.
The only thing to mitigate the sting of such an embarrassing loss was the Rays loss to the Yankees in New York, cutting the Sox magic number to clinch the AL wild card to seven.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.
Never say never?
While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.
CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season.
For the full interview with Martinez, click here.
Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired.
MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.
The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.
But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.
“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.
“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”
He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.
He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.
But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.
“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”