Game Story: Sox drop another to the O's, 5-4

191542.jpg

Game Story: Sox drop another to the O's, 5-4

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

BALTIMORE -- After clawing back from a four-run deficit, the Red Sox experienced a nasty meltdown in the bottom of the eighth inning, leading to a 5-4 defeat to the Baltimore Orioles.

Daniel Bard, the third Red Sox pitcher of the night, allowed two singles to start the inning and a passed ball by Jason Varitek put both baserunners in scoring position.

When another pitch got away from Varitek, the catcher scrambled for the errant pitch and, tossing to Bard covering, the Sox cut down Nick Markakis at the plate.

But with the infield playing in, Vladimir Guerrero lined a single up the middle, scoring Derrek Lee with the winning run.

The Sox had rallied in dramatic fashion in the top of the inning when Adrian Gonzalez singled home Jacoby Ellsbury and Kevin Youkilis followed with a three-run homer into the seats in left.

Baltimore used the long ball in the fourth to take a 3-0 lead against Josh Beckett.

With two out and Derrek Lee on second, Luke Scott drove a pitch over everything in right, with the ball landing on Eutaw St., some 423 feet from home plate.

Beckett was enraged that Scott had flipped the bat after his swing and stared down Scott as he rounded the bases.

Appearing unnerved, Beckett then gave up a solo homer to Adam Jones, who drove a 2-and-0 fastball out to left.

STAR OF THE GAME: Vladimir Guerrero
It wasn't as crushing -- or as impressive -- as his Game 3 homer in the 2009 ALDS off Jonathan Papelbon, but Guerrero's single up the middle in the eighth inning scored the game-winner for the Orioles.

With Derrek Lee at third and one out, Daniel Bard was looking for a strikeout by going inside on Guerrero. Instead, Bard left a pitch out over the middle, and Guerrero, still capable of good plate coverage, drove it into center.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jeremy Guthrie
The Orioles starter pretty much had his way with Red Sox hitters, shutting them out over six innings while walking just one and striking out six.

Guthrie worked out of a first-and-third, one-out jam in the first, then got some help in the fourth when Nick Markakis threw out David Ortiz trying to score from second on a single to right.
GOAT OF THE GAME: Daniel Bard
This wasn't Bard's night. He mislocated to both Markakis and Lee, allowing back-to-back singles to start the eighth.

Then he crossed up Jason Varitek, uncorking a pitch that broke away from Varitek, followed that up with another errant pitch, then surrendered the game-winning single to Guerrero.

TURNING POINT
Bard's second errant pitch of the eighth resulted in a tagout of Markakis at the plate, but moved Lee to third, representing the go-ahead run, and forced the Red Sox to move the infield in. Guerrero then lined a pitch through the middle.

BY THE NUMBERS
Kevin Youkilis's three-run homer in the top of the eighth was just the third three-run shot by the Red Sox in 23 games this season.

QUOTE OF NOTE
"Is this TMZ?'' Josh Beckett to reporters who asked about his staredown with Luke Scott and discussion with home plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth after the bottom of the fourth.

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

McAdam: For Dombrowski and Red Sox, the future is now

McAdam: For Dombrowski and Red Sox, the future is now

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Dave Dombrowski has jumped in. All in. With both feet.

MORE ON THE TRADE

For an executive with a reputation for making bold moves, Dombrowski may have made his boldest one yet Tueday by shipping arguably the organization's best position player prospect (Yoan Moncada) and its best pitching prospect (Michael Kopech), along with two others, to the Chicago White Sox for lefty ace Chris Sale.

Adding Sale to a rotation that already includes reigning Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello and David Price gives the Red Sox the American League's best rotation and makes the Sox the team to beat in the A.L.

Hired 17 months ago with a mandate to make the Red Sox winners again after three last-place finishes in the span of four seasons, Dombrowski has acted aggressively and decisively.

Since then, he's obtained Price, Craig Kimbrel, Carson Smith, Drew Pomeranz, Tyler Thornburg and Sale. That translates into three lefty starters and three back-end power arms in the bullpen.

Of course, all those moves have come at a significant cost. Dombrowski has gone through the Red Sox' minor-league system and shredded it, sacrificing Anderson Espinoza, Manuel Margot, Javier Guerra, and now, Moncada and Kopech.

The pitching, in particular, has been stripped bare, with Espinoza and Kopech representing the two best arms in the system. And in Moncada, the Sox gave up on arguably the single most talented propsect in the entire sport.

At a time when teams protect their best young players as though their existence depends on them, Dombrowski has demonstrated a willingess to move them for a chance to win now.

In exchange, the Sox have now built a super rotation, with three front-line starters, augmented by two other lefties (Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez) along with Steven Wright and Clay Buchholz.

It's a virtual certainty that the Sox will move one of those arms now, in a market where there's virtually no quality free-agent starters available.

Buchholz, who stands to earn $13.5 million in 2017, would give them payroll relief, while Rodriguez, because of his youth and upside, might give the team its biggest return.

Dombrowski's moves create a window for the Red Sox. Sale's deal runs through 2019, while Price has an opt-out in his deal after 2018.

That creates some urgency for the Red Sox to capitalize on the strength of their rotation and a nucleus of young position players -- Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Andrew Benintendi -- and win multiple titles in the next few seasons.

Anything less will be considered a failure.

It's championship-or-bust time at Fenway.

Players, analysts weigh in on Chris Sale trade

Players, analysts weigh in on Chris Sale trade

The Red Sox made a major splash with Tuesday’s Chris Sale, the second swap of the day after acquiring Tyler Thornburg from the Brewers. 

MORE ON THE TRADE

While Boston had to give up top prospect Yoan Moncada and three other legitimate prospects in the trade, the deal gives them a very deep starting rotation that figures to see last offseason’s big acquisition -- David Price -- end up as Boston’s No. 3 starter. 

Here’s what the reaction looked like as the trade came down: 

CSN baseball analyst Lou Merloni gave the deal his stamp of approval. 

Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan cautioned against thinking the Red Sox at a discount. 

Blake Swihart was not one of the four prospects involved in the deal, and he’ll have a heck of a team to work with going forward. 

In Tampa, Chris Archer realized the AL East has a new ace. 

And one Sox fan pointed out that Dave Dombrowski has absolutely dumped out what was once a large and top-heavy chest of prospects.