Crawford 'looking forward' to seeing the Rays

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Crawford 'looking forward' to seeing the Rays

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Carl Crawford was asked if he was looking forward to traveling to Port Charlotte on Thursday to face the Tampa Bay Rays, his former team, and . . .

Crawford laughed at his questioner's pause and filled in the blank.

Getting it out of the way? he asked with a laugh. Yeah, you know, I want to go over there. I know Im going to get asked a bunch of questions. So might as well get it out of the way in spring training and get it over with.

It will be the first time hell have seen most of his teammates since signing a seven-year, 142 million contract with the Red Sox in December. There will be some emotions involved. The Rays are the team with which he grew up. Selected as a 17-year-old in the second round of the 1999 draft out of Jefferson Davis High in Houston, Crawford spent his entire career with Tampa Bay including nine big-league seasons until this year.

Im looking forward to seeing the guys, he said. I havent seen them since last year. So its going to be fun to go over there and see everybody again.

Told that Rays manager Joe Maddon has said he is looking forward to seeing Crawford and thanking the outfielder for what he did for the Rays, Crawford said:

Thats cool. I had a lot of fun with those guys, a lot of memories. Joe, he was really a big part of turning that organization around. He deserves a lot of credit for that.

Asked to compare Maddon he of the nearly 20,000 Twitter followers -- with his current manager Terry Francona, Crawford smiled and said:

Well Tito seems like hes a little more laid back, not really into the whole TV thing. Joe, he likes to be on TV. Hes like a little celebrity over there.

The Rays are expected to start right-hander Andy Sonnanstine Thursday.

Its going to be weird just being on the other side, period, facing one of the guys you got ready to play games with all the time, and just being in a Red Sox uniform, Crawford said. So, just got to get used to it. Im glad Im getting used to it in spring training.

I will be nice to see everybody. But, after that, we just have to play the game and its going to be business as usual.

Crawford thinks his former team will still be a factor in the American League East this season.

Oh yeah, he said. Whenever you got pitching like that, you're never out of it. Everyone knows pitching wins games. When you got pitchers like they have youre always in it.

But, after watching the Red Sox from across the field for nearly a decade, he knew hed fit in well with his new team.

I wanted to play with these guys, he said. This is a special group right here. I could see myself in this lineup. I could envision myself in this lineup before it actually happened. It was more so, besides the money, of being on a team where I can fit in and play my game and know were going to be winning.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Sunday's Red Sox-Blue Jays lineup: Ortiz a late scratch

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Sunday's Red Sox-Blue Jays lineup: Ortiz a late scratch

David Ortiz was a late scratch from Sunday's lineup for undisclosed reasons. Travis Shaw moves up to the fourth spot in the order at first base, Hanley Ramirez becomes the DH and Josh Rutledge will bat seventh at third base.

After extending his streak to 21 games Saturday, Xander Bogaerts faces a familiar foe in R.A. Dickey. So far the matchup has been favorable for the shortstop, batting .364 through 35 at-bats against the knuckleballer. 

Dickey, on the other hand, has been on the wrong side of matchups against Boston since joining the Blue Jays. In 2016 alone, he's allowed eight runs in 9.2 innings in his two starts against the Red Sox. He faces a lineup that has five players who are hitting .275 or better against him through at least 10 career plate appearances against the righty. Shaw leads that charge, going 4-10 so far off Dickey with a homerun and two doubles. Rutledge is the lone Red Sox hitter yet to face Dickey.

The lineups:

BLUE JAYS:
Jose Bautisa RF
Josh Donaldson 3B
Edwin Encarnacion DH
Justin Smoak 1B
Devon Travis 2B
Darwin Barney SS
Kevin Pillar CF
Ezquiel Carrera LF
Josh Thole C
---
R.A. Dickey P

RED SOX:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Travis Shaw 1B
Hanley Ramirez DH
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Josh Rutledge 3B
Christian Vazquez C
Blake Swihart LF
---
David Price P

The price of being the ace

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The price of being the ace

David Price has a chance for his first “ace” moment to show Boston he’s truly the pitcher they paid for.

The bullpen is spent after giving up the game late Saturday, to go with the team dealing with a three game skid -- the longest since their three-game losing streak from April 17th – April 19th.

On top of the Sox not having lost four-straight yet in 2016, Price is back at the Rogers Centre for the first time since his playoff run with the Blue Jays last year.

So this game should have a playoff feel to it -- as much as one can in late May -- especially with the Toronto picking up steam.

And lastly for Price, he’s started to figure things out since making a mechanical adjustment following his atrocious 4.2 inning start against the Yankees earlier in the month.

But he hasn’t had to throw against a top of the line offense yet.

The lefty dominated Houston, much like everyone has this year and also did well against Colorado.

In between those two he did face a strong opponent in Kansas City, but the Royals still haven’t completely gotten things together (although they did mount a ridiculous comeback Saturday against the White Sox).

Toronto’s scored over seven runs in three of their last four, winning all four of those games and seven of the last 10 contests -- putting them four games behind Boston in the AL East standings.

Price does have a few things going for him entering Sunday’s contest.

He threw well against his old team earlier this year -- seven innings, two earned runs, nine strikeouts and zero walks -- when his mechanics weren’t where he wanted them.

Also after being traded to Detroit from Tampa Bay in 2014, Price was dominant in his returning start at Tropicana Field.

Although he took the loss 1-0, the lefty dealt, chucking a one-hitter over eight innings, striking out nine without walking a batter -- and the one run off of him was unearned.

Price has yet to pitch at Comerica Park since leaving the Tigers, so that’s something Boston may deal with later in the year, too.

Now Price has to block all of this from his mind and execute pitches, in what is his biggest test this point in the season.

A lot for him to ignore in what could’ve easily been a regular start had Boston’s bullpen done its job Sunday -- but then again, this is a part of the price of being an ace.

McAdam: Red Sox relievers didn’t do the job vs. Toronto

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McAdam: Red Sox relievers didn’t do the job vs. Toronto

Sean McAdam joins SNC to discuss the Red Sox bullpen giving up a 4-run lead in the late innings of their loss to the Blue Jays.

Watch the video above.