McAdam: Red Sox play the blame game

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McAdam: Red Sox play the blame game

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

TORONTO -- There's more than one reason why the Red Sox have yet to reach .500 this season, and on Tuesday night, the start of their five-game road trip, there was more than one reason why they failed again.

There was the oversized pothole dug for them by starter Jon Lester, who lost both command and control of his emotions in a first inning that saw the lefty walk three, including one with the bases loaded.

There was the by-now standard inability to deliver the big hit when it was needed most. The Sox stranded 12 and in one particularly frustrating inning, the seventh, couldn't get a run after putting the first two hitters on base.

There was the home run allowed by DanielBard with the score tied in the eighth,which meant Adrian Gonzalez' ninth-inning homer tied, and didn't win, the game.

But ultimately, as the Sox slipped back to 17-19 with a 7-6, 10-inning defeat to the Toronto Blue Jays, it was the team's helplessness in the bottom of the final inning which sealed their fate and left them 0-for-3 in games which could have brought them back to the break-even point.

The Red Sox knew that Rajai Davis was going to run. What was left of the undersized crowd at Rogers Centre knew it, too. But the Red Sox could do nothing to stop Davis, ultimately, from stealing this game from them.

Matt Albers had worked an efficient ninth inning, but quickly fell behind Davis 3-and-1 with one out in the bottom of the 10th.

"In that situation,'' said Albers, "I'm not going to walk him. I'm going to make him hit the ball. He hit a chopper to the right spot which got into center field."

But Davis was just getting started.

The Red Sox called for a pitchout as Davis broke for second. But even with that, catcher Jason Varitek one-hopped his throw and Davis slid in safely.

"We had the pitchout,'' recounted Varitek. "We had the right thing. I wasn't able to gain as much as ground as I would have liked in making the throw. It ended up bang-bang."

"If we get the ball in the air to second,'' said Terry Francona, "we've got him.''

Davis wasn't done, however.

Francona said infield coach Tim Bogar tried to get rookie shortstop Jose Iglesias's attention to hold Davis closer to the second-base bag, but couldn't.

"Maybe a little bit of inexperience on Iggy's part,'' said Francona, "just not getting tight enough. It certainly changed the way we had to defense the Jays the rest of the inning."

Albers, however, took the blame for not doing a better job in keeping Davis anchored.

"I shouldn't have let him steal third,'' he said. "That was on me. I've got to keep him closer and keep him at second. It's unfortunate. You know he's going to go.''

"Third . . . it was . . . no contest," recounted Varitek. "Hindsight, you can always say that you could have done this or that. But I wasn't able to make a throw."

Not that the Sox were surrpised by Davis's decision to take off for third, even though he was already in scoring position.

"Not in the least bit,'' said Varitek. "He was that way in Oakland. He's got accelerated speed. By no means were we surprised.''

From there, all the Blue Jays needed was a simple sacrifice fly, which they got from rookie David Cooper. A routine flyout to center, which would have been the second out had David been kept at second, instead Sox sent the Sox to their second extra-inning loss in the last six days.

Plenty of blame, indeed. But not enough answers for a team which has found merely getting back to even much harder than it ever could have imagined.

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

Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

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Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

Thought to be lost for the season after shoulder surgery this past spring, Pablo Sandoval could possibly return to the Red Sox for the postseason, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Saturday.

Sandoval joined the team in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox are playing the Tampa Bay Rays. Farrell said Sandoval had played in instructional league games in Florida and was "well ahead of schedule."

He could be an option to be activated if another player is injured. 

“One of the things I put in my mind that I have to work,” Sandoval told Boston Herald. “I learned a lot of things about this surgery so I had to work hard to be on the field as soon as possible.

“There are a lot of things I’ve been doing, working out, doing things so I can get better and better everyday.”

Sandoval, 30, is in the second year of a five-year, $95 contract. He lost his starting third base job to Travis Shaw in spring training and in April an MRI revealed he needed surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder, which was to have ended his season.

He appeared in only three games this season and hit .245 with 10 homers and 47 RBI in 126 games in 2015. 

Saturday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Porcello goes for 22nd, Holt at 3B

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Saturday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Porcello goes for 22nd, Holt at 3B

Closing in on the A.L. East title, the Red Sox look to make it 10 wins in a row tonight when they play the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg.

Right hander Rick Porcello (21-4, 3.08 ERA) goes for his 22nd win for the Red Sox, opposed by Rays right-hander Matt Andriese (8-7, 4.41). Porcello is coming off a complete game victory in Baltimore.

The Red Sox began the day with a magic number of four to clinch the A.L. East with eight games to play. They could clinch a wild-card spot tonight with a victory and a Baltimore Orioles loss. 

Brock Holt starts at third base and Chris Young is in left field for Boston.

The lineups:

RED SOX
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Brock Holt 3B
Chris Young LF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Sandy Leon C
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Rick Porcello RHP 

RAYS
Logan Forsythe 2B
Kevin Kiermaier CF
Evan Longoria 3B
Brad Miller 1B
Corey Dickerson LF
Nick Franklin DH
Mikey Mahtook RF
Alexi Ramirez SS
Curt Casali C
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Matt Andriese RHP