Notes: Bard takes another loss

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Notes: Bard takes another loss

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Daniel Bard stood in front of his locker, surrounded by reporters. Again.

Bard was answering questions about another tough, late-inning loss. Again.

Bard had been the loser Wednesday night in Toronto when the Sox saw a two-run deficit frittered away in the eighth. On Saturday, he had entered a tie game in the 11th, only to give up a leadoff triple to Desmond Jennings and, one out later, a game-winning single to Evan Longoria, giving the Rays a 6-5 win.

The pitching to Longoria, 0-and-2, was "exactly where we wanted it. Chest high . . . 98 mph . . . ''

The loss was Bard's seventh of the season -- three more than Bard accumulated in his first two seasons combined. The back-to-back losses were the first for Bard in his career.

"Tonight would have been a good one to win,'' said Bard, "a come-from-behind win. Unfortunately, we couldn't do it.''

Bard actually followed closer Jonathan Papelbon to the mound after Papelbon was brought in for the ninth inning. After a lot of work Thursday night, Terry Francona wanted to limit Bard to a single inning, while Papelbon was rested enough for two.

Jacoby Ellsbury, who hit a game-tying homer in the bottom of the ninth, went sliding in the right-center gap, hoping to catch a ball off the bat of Desmond Jennings.

Darnell McDonald, in right field, went after the ball, too, though Ellsbury called for it.

The ball fell between them for a triple, leading to the winning run.

"I felt like I got a good read on it,'' said McDonald. "The ball fell, so it was in a perfect spot. We got there at the same time. I heard him call the ball. I tried to get out of the way and the ball dropped. That's about how it's going for us right now.''

"We're trying to catch the ball,'' said Ellsbury. "I feel like we should catch everything out there.''

Making his third major league start, Kyle Weiland lasted just four innings, allowing three runs.

But considering the trouble he sometimes got himself into, that wasn't bad.

Weiland was able to limit the damage to a solo run in the first after loading the bases with no out in the first. It was more of the same in the third when he filled the bases with one out and kept the Rays to a single run.

"I dug myself a little bit into a hole,'' acknoweldged Weiland," and I made a few quality pitches and I Was able to get out of it with minimal damage. (But) it's tough to get out of those when you keep digging a hole like that.

Kevin Youkilis didn't return from Boston after getting an injection for his sore hip and will re-join the Red Sox when they return home from their current trip.

"He's a little sore,'' said Terry Francona, "which wasn't unexpected. We'll see where he's at on Tuesday.''

Francona confirmed that Youkilis has "the onset of the sports hernia,'' while adding that the term is general and means only that Youkilis "had a weakening of an area, which we already knew.''

Francona said Youkilis will be examined further at the conclusion of the Red Sox' season to determine whether any surgical procedure is needed in the offseason.

"For now, he can play as tolerated,'' said Francona, "and I think they believe he can play. And if he needs a day off, we can certainly do that.''

With Youkilis out Saturday and Sunday, Jed Lowrie will continue to man third base, with Mike Aviles also available.

Erik Bedard, who had a left lat pull examined in Boston Friday, rejoined the club and, according to Francona, "is improving.

"We don't want to rush him back,'' added the manager. "It's so easy to make mistakes when you're getting thin (with pitching), when in reality, you're messing up. I think we're just going to do the best we can in the meantime.''

Bedard was going to be skipped this weekend anyway because his left knee was tender, but the lat issue may be push that back further.

Francona said Bedard taking his next turn, which would be Thursday or so, "is not realistic. Again, the timetable isn't set in stone. It's more like how he feels.''

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

Thursday's Red Sox-Rockies lineup: Bradley moved to the leadoff spot

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Thursday's Red Sox-Rockies lineup: Bradley moved to the leadoff spot

BOSTON -- Jackie Bradley Jr. has been inching his way up the lineup recently, but tonight he makes a quantum leap all the way to the top.

With Mookie Betts getting the night off, Bradley -- riding a 29-game hitting streak -- has been moved to the leadoff spot by John Farrell as the Red Sox attempt to complete a three-game sweep of the Rockies.

Dustin Pedroia (hamstring) and Xander Bogaerts (thumb) both had to leave Wednesday night's game, but both are back in the lineup tonight.

The lineups:

ROCKIES:
Charlie Blackmon CF
DJ LeMahieu 2B
Nolan Arenado 3B
Carlos Gonzalez RF
Mark Reynolds 1B
Gerardo Parra LF
Trevor Story SS
Daniel Descalso DH
Dustin Garneau C
---
Jon Gray P

RED SOX:
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Chris Young RF
Blake Swihart LF
Christian Vazquez C
---
Clay Buchholz P

McAdam: More than memories fade from the ’86 Sox near miss

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McAdam: More than memories fade from the ’86 Sox near miss

The Red Sox honored the 1986 American League champions before Wednesday's game, but it wasn't the same.
      
Some 30 years on, the players, understandably, were older and heavier.

Hairlines were receded, or gone altogether, and waistlines expanded. It happens to the best of us.
      
But that wasn't what made the occasion melancholy. And it went beyond the usual nostalgia, that recognition that time eventually catches up to us all, or even the knowledge that some of that team's stars had already passed away (Dave Henderson) while others weren't well enough to appear.
      
No, it was something more. It was the realization that, through no fault of its own, the 1986 American League Championship team will mean less and
less as time passes.
      
The same can be said of the 1967 Impossible Dream Red Sox and the 1975 A.L. champs, too.
      
For the longest time, those teams -- each of which won a pennant and got as far as Game 7 of the World Series before coming up short of the ultimate
goal -- were all Red Sox fans had. The near misses. The Almosts.
      
Those teams were lionized, romanticized and celebrated because they came the closest in the modern era to snapping the franchise's championship
drought. A break here, a bounce there, and maybe the string of futility wouldn't have reached 86 long years.
      
For decades, Red Sox fans had to relive how tantalizingly close those three teams got.
      
If only Lonborg had more rest for Game 7 in 1967. 
      
What might have happened if Rice didn't break his hand in September of 1975? 
     
No team got closer than the one in 1986, when the Red Sox were, more than once, one strike away. The champagne was on ice. The clubhouse was
set up for a celebration. Even the Mets, prematurely, saluted the Red Sox as 1986 champions on the scoreboard at Shea Stadium.
      
Then, it all unraveled, from the wild pitch/passed ball, to the  "little roller up along first.....behind the bag!'' That was only Game 6 of course, but the dye was cast that night. Game 7 would end in defeat, too.
      
For decades, that was all the Red Sox and their fans had. And so they toasted their heroes, who fell just short of their goal, relived the misery and staged the occasional baseball equivalent of an Irish wake.
      
What else was there to do? In need of champions, Red Sox Nation settled on the next best thing. Those guys played their hearts out, cried some in the dugout, then held their heads high.
      
Oh, well.
      
Then came 2004. And after that, 2007. And for good measure, 2013.
      
Suddenly, this World Series thing wasn't so complicated after all.

Three titles were notched in the span of a decade.
      
Now, there are happy endings to celebrate. There are Octobers to remember without the cruel plot twists at the end.
      
No more close calls, what ifs or could-have-beens. There were three honest-to-goodness World Series championships to celebrate. Even with three
last place finishes int the last four seasons, present-day Red Sox fans can lay claim to having experienced the greatest era of the team's long history.
      
And that, of course, has served to marginalize teams like the 1986 Red Sox.
      
Teams like that one, like the one lauded on the field at Fenway Wednesday night, are now quaint remembrances of another era in team history. It's like looking at old picture of yourself, decked out in a leisure suit with platform shoes: it seemed like a good idea at the time.
      
So, you smile and remember, ruefully, Marty Barrett and Oil Can Boyd and Rich Gedman. You thank them for their effort, and the memories they gave, even if some of them are still painful.
      
But you don't hold them in the same regard as Dave Roberts or Kevin Millar or Keith Foulke. You remember Clemens, but not in the way you revere Curt Schilling.
      
You still have fond feelings for '67 and '75, and most assuredly, '86, and sometimes, when you think of how they all ended their seasons, how impossibly close they came, you can't help but smile.
      
Now, you have other editions -- three! -- that figured out how to finish it off. You don't have to apologize for throwing them celebrations and you don't have to explain to out-of-towners why it is you're paying tribute to a team that lost when it counted most.
      
And every year, whether you acknowledge it or not, those teams -- none more than the one from 1986 that was feted Wednesday -- mean a little less, fade a little more into the recesses of time and shrink into history.