McAdam at the World Series: Renteria steps up again

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McAdam at the World Series: Renteria steps up again

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

SAN FRANCISCO - If you're a Red Sox fan, you remember him booting away seemingly routine grounders, blaming his alarmingly high error total on the Fenway grounds crew and making Tony La Russa look positively prophetic about his unsuitability for Boston.

The Edgar Renteria Era -- or was it the Error -- was, as they say, nasty, brutish and short: One brutal and brutally expensive season.

The Sox had cast aside Orlando Cabrera after a three-month rental and cast their lot -- to say nothing of 40 million over four years -- with Renteria. It proved to be a colossal misstep, but say this for the Sox: They didn't hold their breath and hope it would get better. They cut their losses in a hurry, paying the Atlanta Braves to kindly take their mistake-prone shortstop off their hands.

When the Sox won another World Series two years later, they were still paying off Renteria. He never seemed comfortable in Boston, and Boston, in turn, never felt comfortable with Renteria.

If you could cut out Renteria's one-year nightmare in Boston, however, he's been a pretty good player for a pretty long time. And when he gets to the World Series, as he's done three different times with three different teams, he has a habit of making his presence felt. Scan the highlights of the last 13 years of the Fall Classic and, inevitably, there's Renteria popping up again and again, in big moments, like some sort of October Forrest Gump.

There he is in 1997, singling off Charlie Nagy in the 11th inning of Game Seven, making unlikely champions of the Florida Marlins. There he is, seven years later, in the uniform of the St. Louis Cardinals eerily making the final out against the team he would join a month later, hitting a harmless tapper back to Keith Foulke in Game Four.

And Thursday night, there he was starring for the San Francisco Giants, homering in the bottom of the fifth to snap a scoreless tie and giving the Giants the only run they would need to win Game Two. It helped that when the Giants tacked on seven more runs in the eighth to make it a comfortable 9-0 shutout, Rentiera was part of that, too, delivering a two-run single.

The 2010 season was far from a career highlight. He made three trips to the disabled list for an assortment of injuries, and once, went to the minor leagues to play himself back to good health.

He lost his starting shortstop job to Juan Uribe, only to regain it when the Giants began to worry that third baseman Pablo Sandoval had become a liability. Uribe was then shifted to third and Renteria was re-inserted at short.

His timing is, once again, spectacular. He may not challenge Reggie Jackson for the title of Mr. October, but he does have an uncanny knack of rising to the occasion.

"You know, I couldn't be happier for Edgar,'' said San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy. "It's been a tough year for him. The ups and downs, the injuries . . . He'd come back from one and re-injure something else. But he's a leader in that clubhouse. Everybody looks up to him. He's been through this and he's excited about how he feels right now. He's excited about being back in the World Series.''

Renteria is only 34, but he has already played 15 seasons and with his body slowly breaking down and his contract up, retirement could be beckoning.

"He knows that he's almost at the end of his career,'' said Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens. "He wanted to be into the playoffs because he doesn't know how much longer he's going to play. But there's no better time than now. He's playing great defense and got a couple of big hits.''

According to Meulens, Renteria is a personal favorite of team owner Bill Neukom, who makes it a point to often visit with Renteria and offer encouragement.

"He tells him, 'You're not done with us . . . you're going to help us more,' '' recounted Meulens.

And so it is. The theory around the Giants is that the three DL stints are now a blessing in disguise, enabling Renteria to tap into a reservoir of energy at a time when it's needed most.

"I think the rest probably has benefitted him,'' said Bochy. "He's playing like he did 10 years ago.''

Which, if you're a Giants fan, is much better than playing like he did, say, five years ago.

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

Thursday's Red Sox-Angels lineups: Sox kick off road trip with Price

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Thursday's Red Sox-Angels lineups: Sox kick off road trip with Price

The Boston Red Sox send David Price (9-7, 4.51 ERA) to the mound to kick of their long road trip against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The Angels will counter with righty Jered Weaver (8-8, 5.32 ERA).

The lineups:

RED SOX

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Travis Shaw 3B
Sandy Leon C
Brock Holt LF

David Price LHP

ANGELS
Yunel Escobar 3B
Kole Calhoun RF
Mike Trout CF
Albert Pujols DH
Jefry Marte 1B
Andrelton Simmons SS
Jett Bandy C
Gregorio Petit LF
Johnny Giavotella 2B

Jered Weaver RHP

McAdam: Poor homestand puts Red Sox on tough road

McAdam: Poor homestand puts Red Sox on tough road

The Red Sox had their chance.

They could have beefed up during the just-completed homestand and taken advantage of the worst team in the American League (Minnesota) and another that was only three games over .500 when it came to town (Detroit).

Instead, the Red Sox were just 2-5 in the last seven games at Fenway, losing ground in the standings to the Orioles and Blue Jays rather than making the race tighter.

That's not to suggest the Red Sox played their way out of contention in the last week. There are better than two months remaining in the season and the schedule isn't yet two-thirds complete.

Moreover, there is no dominant team in the East, and, thus, no one capable of pulling away and leaving the rest of the teams in their wake.

Baltimore and Toronto are flawed, too, as the first 100 or so games of the season have demonstrated.

But what the disappointing homestand means is this: Because they didn't win as much as they should at Fenway in the last week, the Sox will have to make up for that on the road.

As has been talked about ad nauseum in the last week, the schedule is about to become more demanding for the Red Sox. It's bad enough that they're in the middle of a stretch that will see them enjoy one (1) day off in the span of 44 days. Making matters worse is that 41 of the final 63 games are away from home -- including the next 11.

Put another way: The Red Sox have not yet had a three-city road trip this season, but all four of their remaining trips are of the three-city variety, including two that include travel to the West Coast.

The Red Sox have played fairly well on the road (21-19) -- they're one of just four teams in the American League with a winning road record -- but the simple fact remains: It's harder to win on the road than it is at home. And that's before you take into consideration the toll that lengthy road trips can take.

Of the next three road opponents, one has a losing record, and another is just two games over .500. Only the Los Angeles Dodgers, next weekend's interleauge road opponent, are playoff contenders from among that group.

Then again, the Red Sox thought they could roll over the Twins last weekend and came away with a four-game split, so it's difficult to handicap these things.

It should help, too, that the Red Sox are getting healthier.

Junichi Tazawa returned this week, and Craig Kimbrel could be back as early as Monday in Seattle. Chris Young and Josh Rutledge could rejoin them before they head out on their next road swing in mid-August.

With all the talk of the daunting schedule and demanding travel ahead, Dustin Pedroia was having none of it.

"We can play just as well on the road as we have at home,'' said Pedroia. "That stuff (the schedule) is irrelevant.''

Maybe. But one way or another, we're about to find out.

Source: Sox seek smaller pieces, not big names, at trade deadline

Source: Sox seek smaller pieces, not big names, at trade deadline

BOSTON -- According to an N.L. talent evaluator who is familiar with some of the Red Sox ongoing talks with teams leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, the Sox seem focused on adding a bullpen piece and/or back-end starters.

The need for the former is rather obvious, given the current injuries to Criag Kimbrel and Koji Uehara. The Sox can use some upgrades and another experienced arm to guide them through the final two months.

As for the rotation, it's not a surprise that the Sox aren't serious bidders for more glamorous names like Chris Sale, since that would require them to gut their farm system.

But the team's starter depth is perilous, with only Clay Buchholz in reserve. It makes perfect sense that the Sox would be seeking someone else to help provide them with insurance against further injuries or under-performance.