Lackey, Doubront roughed up by Rangers bats

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Lackey, Doubront roughed up by Rangers bats

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
BOSTON -- After 35 career starts and a 6.04 ERA against them, John Lackey had seen the type of offensive production the Texas Rangers were capable of.

They proved it again in start number 36 on Sunday.

Lackey gave up six earned runs to the Rangers in five innings in the Red Sox 11-4 loss. His one strikeout was contrasted with eight hits and three walks.

Theres a lot of history there, and theres a lot of guys that have some pretty good numbers, Terry Francona said after the game. That doesnt mean you cant beat them, but they work you pretty good. Theyre a good team.

Lackey (12-11, 6.11 ERA) pitched against the Rangers less then two weeks ago -- a win on August 23 in Texas. Even though he had success in that game, the proximity between the two starts gave the Rangers familiarity on Sunday. Lackey threw 103 pitches and left in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and no outs.

I dont have a whole lot of tricks left, he said. You try to change sequences and theyve got a good lineup. Theyre tough and they definitely worked me, had my pitch count up quite a bit there in the sixth inning. Just got enough of some hits to get me out of there and then things didnt go real good after that. It didnt contribute to being great.

Francona turned to Felix Doubront, who was called up from Pawtucket last week, to take back control of the game. While Lackey had seen the Rangers plenty of times, Doubront had faced them just three times in his career.

In only his second appearance with the Red Sox since being recalled, Doubront gave up three earned runs off of just 19 pitches. Francona acknowledged the pressure of the situation, but he sees Doubront playing in that type of circumstance.

Thats probably what hes going to have to do, he said. He just didnt throw enough strikes. . . . I think a strength of his is coming in, establishing fastball command, able to pitch with the fastball, both sides of the plate, and he just fell behind and he hung a breaking ball.

Lackey sympathized with his young teammate.

I left three runners out there with nobody out, so Felix came in there in a tough spot, especially for a young kid, he said. And to get booed after that, for a young kid thats pretty -- hes going to do a lot good things here. I felt bad for him.

As Lackey looks ahead to the remainder of the season, his expectations and goals stay the same, regardless of whether it is September or April.

To win. Thats what they always are, he said. Damn thing doesnt change (this) time of year. Im going to go out there and compete my butt off and see what happens.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

Offseason just like any other for Bogaerts

BOSTON -- At first, 2016 seemed like the “Year of Xander.” It turned out to be the “Year of Mookie,” with Bogaerts dropping off a little as the season progressed.

The Red Sox shortstop saw his average peak at .359 on June 12. At that point he’d played in 61 games, hit eight home runs, 20 doubles and knocked in 44 runs. Although Mookie Betts had six more home runs and three more RBI in that same span, Bogaerts had six more doubles and was hitting 69 points higher.

The two were already locks for the All-Star Game and Bogaerts still had the edge in early MVP talk.

Then things took a turn after the very day Bogaerts saw his average peak.

Over the next 61 games, Bogaerts still managed seven homers, but only had six doubles and 27 RBI, watching his average drop to .307 by the end of that stretch. At first glance, .307 doesn’t seem like an issue, but he dropped 52 points after hitting .253 in that span.

And in his remaining 35 games, Bogaerts only hit .248 -- although he did have six homers.

But throughout it all, Bogaerts never seemed fazed by it. With pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Bogaerts still isn’t worried about the peaks and valleys.

“You go through it as a player, the only one’s who don’t go through that are the ones not playing,” Bogaerts told CSNNE.com before the Boston baseball writers' dinner Thursday. “I just gotta know you’re going to be playing good for sometime, you’re going to be playing bad for sometime.

“Just try to a lot more better times than bad times. It’s just a matter of trusting yourself, trusting your abilities and never doubting yourself. Obviously, you get a lot of doubts when you’re playing bad, but you just be even keeled with whatever situation is presented.”

Bogaerts level head is something often noted by coaches and his teammates, carrying through the days he finds himself lunging left and right for pitches. That’s also carried him through the offseason while maintaining the same preparation from past seasons -- along with putting on some weight.

“I don’t know how much I put on, but I feel strong,” Bogaerts said to CSNNE.com “I mean, I look strong in the mirror.

“Hopefully, I’m in a good position when the season comes because I know I’ll lose [the weight].”

Sandoval’s offseason transformation doesn't guarantee he's Sox starting third baseman

Sandoval’s offseason transformation doesn't guarantee he's Sox starting third baseman

BOSTON - The weight room, as much as Instagram, has been Pablo Sandoval’s home in the offseason leading up to the 2017 season.

His change in diet and routine have clearly led to visible results, at least in terms of appearance. His play is yet to be determined. But his manager and teammates have taken notice.

“Compliments to Pablo,” John Farrell told reporters before Thursday’s BBWAA dinner. “He’s done a great job with the work that he’s put in, the commitment he’s made. He’s reshaped himself, that’s apparent. He knows there’s work to be done to regain an everyday job at third base. So, we’ll see how that unfolds. We’re not looking for him to be someone he’s not been in the past. Return to that level of performance.”

Farrell noted that Brock Holt and Josh Rutledge are the other two players in contention for time at third base and while others, such as prospect Rafael Devers, may get time there in the spring, those are the only three expected to compete for the job.

“The beauty of last spring is that there’s a note of competition in camp,” Farrell said. “And that was born out of third base last year [when Travis Shaw beat out Sandoval at the third base]. That won’t change.”

Sandoval's 2016 season ended after shoulder surgery in April. 

While the manager has to be cautiously optimistic, Sandoval’s teammates can afford to get their hopes up.

“Pablo is definitely going to bounce back,” Xander Bogaerts told CSNNE.com “Especially with the weight he’s lost and the motivation he has to prove a lot of people wrong, to prove the fans wrong.

“He’s been a great player for his whole career. He’s not a bad player based on one year. Playing in Boston the first year is tough, so, hopefully this year he’ll be better.”

Prior to Sandoval’s abysmal 2015, his first season in Boston, when he hit .245 with 47 RBI in 126 games, the 2012 World Series MVP was a career .294 hitter who averaged 15 home runs and 66 RBI a year.

If Bogaerts is right and Sandoval can be that player again, that will be a huge lift in filling in the gap David Ortiz left in Boston’s offense.