Notes: Rays capitalize on Red Sox' mistakes

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Notes: Rays capitalize on Red Sox' mistakes

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA

BOSTON -- The Red Sox had missed opportunities on Saturday. The Tampa Bay Rays also took advantage of their own. In a game where Jon Lester gave up four earned runs and the Red Sox left six men on base, four more than the Rays did, it could be easy to point out what the Red Sox should have done better. At the same time, there is a lot the Rays did do better.

Evan Longoria entered Saturdays game batting 4-for-8 with two homeruns and six RBIs in the series. He added to that with an RBI single in the fifth inning against Lester. Longoria has driven in 13 RBIs against the Red Sox this season and 57 over his career.

Hes a tremendous player, said Francona. Hes done that to us before. A couple years ago I think he drove in 30-something runs, at least hes not doing that. Good players, like thats how we feel about Pedey (Dustin Pedroia) and guys like (Jacoby) Ellsbury, thats what you have them for.

The Red Sox entered the game with limited success against Jeff Neimann. (Marco Scutaro had a team-high three hits against him.) The Sox were able to get four hits off of him in five innings, but failed to capitalize on many of them.

Hes a good pitcher and he pitches well against us, said Francona. We had some chances. We didnt cash in. Thats the way the game is.

In only his second Major League appearance, Matt Moore pitched three innings in relief of Neimann, giving up one run, two hits, and striking out a pair.

He has a very loose, live arm, said Francona. I can see why they like him so much. He didnt command probably like he can, but theres a lot to like. And the fact that through Double-A and Triple-A he got right handers out so dominating shows you that he has more than a fastball.

The Rays offense forced Lester into deep counts throughout the game, and their patience paid off at the plate.

I thought they did a good job of laying off some pitches that maybe some other teams dont, because if you dont eliminate a pitch with him, sometimes he can kind of have his way with you, said Francona. They got a lot of deep counts, and then once youve seen five or six pitches in that at bat, youve got to make a really good pitch. They fouled off some pitches that were good pitches, but because they had seen five or six, they were able to do that.

With a loss, the Red Sox American League Wild Card lead is three games over the Rays. They are now 4.5 games behind the New York Yankees in overall AL East standings. The Red Sox have lost 10 of their last 13 games and are 2-8 in their last 10 contests.

The Red Sox are 6-11 against the Rays this season, tying the most losses against the Rays in club history. Many of their troubles against Tampa Bay have come in Boston. The Red Sox are 2-6 against the Rays at Fenway Park this season and 4-12 against them at home since the start of 2010.

Jacoby Ellsbury, who has 37 stolen bases this season, was thrown out trying to steal third with no outs in the fifth inning. He was thrown out by Neimann. Ellsbury did not speak to the media after the game, but Francona shared his assessment of the attempt. Its a situation where hes probably trying to do too much that wasnt necessary, he said. His intentions are good. It was ill-advised. If youre going to run in that situation, its got to be one-hundred percent. He knows that.

On the topic of stolen bases, Joey Gathright stole his first base of the season in the ninth inning off of Joel Peralta.

Pregame notes by Maureen Mullen

Manager Terry Francona has still not named a pitcher for the first game of Mondays doubleheader against the Orioles. John Lackey will start the second game. Left-hander Erik Bedard, who was going to throw before Saturdays game remains a possibility.

He had a good day Friday so hes going to throw a side . . . and then well go from there, Francona said.

Weve got some moving parts obviously. Want to see how he comes through the side, and then we want to gauge where we think he is and then well make some decisions. We have some either-ors obviously.

Kevin Youkilis, hampered by a hernia and hip bursitis remains sore. His ability to play is unknown.

It is a little bit of a conundrum, Francona said. He had a two-week DL and he came back, so I really dont know. I think thats what hes hanging his hat on, and I think thats what we hope will be the case. Were certainly going to give him a chance, but we just dont know.

If a guys good, we want to play him. But right now thats not realistic. Where it goes from here we just dont know. We all hope he wakes up maybe tomorrow morning and says hey I really feel good today. OK, good, lets see how you do tomorrow. And then if you play, how do you bounce back. We just dont know.

The Sox announced their minor league award winners.
Pitcher of the Year, right-hander Alex Wilson, Double-A PortlandTriple-A Pawtucket.
Offensive Co-Players of the Year: Right fielder Bryce Brentz, Single-A GreenvilleSingle-A Salem and catcher Ryan Lavarnway, Double-A PortlandTriple-A Pawtucket.
Defensive Player of the Year: Catcher Christian Vazquez, Single-A Greenville.
Base Runner of the Year: Center fielder Felix Sanchez, Single-A Greenville.
Minor League Latin Program Pitcher of the Year: Left-hander Pedro Reyes, Rookie-Level Dominican Summer League Red Sox.
Minor League Latin Program Player of the Year: Outfielder Ynoel Aguero, Rookie-Level Dominican Summer League Red Sox.
Left-hander Tommy Hottovy, Double-A PortlandTriple-A Pawtucket won the inaugural Lou Gorman Award, given in honor of the former Sox GM and executive who died in April. It will be presented annually to a Red Sox minor league player who has demonstrated dedication and perseverance in overcoming obstacles while working his way to the major league team.

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

First impressions: Buchholz finishes strong vs. White Sox

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First impressions: Buchholz finishes strong vs. White Sox

CHICAGO - First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-2 win over the White Sox.

 

If this was some sort of must-win proposition for Clay Buchholz, he passed his test.

Buchholz found himself behind 2-0 just three batters in when he allowed a two-run homer to Jose Abreu, but he righted himself nicely after that.

Buchholz pitched seven innings and didn't allow another run. In fact, Buchholz only yielded two more hits after the first - both singles.

John Farrell said he wanted to see Buchholz attack the strike zone with his fastball, pitch with a quicker tempo and not rely so much on his secondary stuff. To varying degrees, Buchholz accomplished all three and finished strong - retiring the last 10 hitters in a row and 16 of the last 17.

 

Josh Rutledge had a nice night off the bench.

Rutledge was a last-minute addition to the lineup when Hanley Ramirez was scratched with the flu and Travis Shaw was shifted from third base to first base.

Rutledge reached base three times with two singles and a walk. One of the singles drove in the fourth run, scoring Chris Young with an important insurance run.

 

David Ortiz broke out of his U.S. Cellular slump in a big way.

Coming into the game, Ortiz was hitless here in his last 19 at-bats and when he hit into a double play in the first and flied to center in the third, that stretched to 0-for-21. Since the start of 2014, those first two at-bats made Ortiz 1-for-26.

But in the fifth, Ortiz hammered a pitch from Carlos Rodon into the seats in right for a two-run homer, giving the Red Sox their first lead of the series.

For all the talk about Ortiz's difficulty hitting lefties, he's now third among lefty batters in homers off lefthanded pitchers since last July 2.

 

The home run power continues to be in short supply beyond Ortiz.

Last season, the Red Sox didn't have anyone hit 20 homers other than the (then) 39-year-old Ortiz.

Might the same thing happen again this year?

Ortiz hit his sixth homer last night, again leading the club. Mookie Betts is the only other hitter on the Sox with more than three homers -- and he hasn't hit one in his last 58 at-bats, dating back a week and a half.

 

Red Sox will re-assess Rodriguez's progress after rehab start

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Red Sox will re-assess Rodriguez's progress after rehab start

CHICAGO -- Eduardo Rodriguez's return to the Red Sox rotation is going to take a little while longer.

Rodriguez will make at least one more rehab start for Pawtucket Sunday before the Red Sox re-assess his progress.

There had been some thought that Rodriguez would need only two outings on his rehab assignment. But the decision was made Wednesday to give him at least one more.

Rodriguez had a good outing for Pawtucket Tuesday night, allowing three runs on five hits in six innings of work.

All three runs came in the first inning, after which he showed improvement. "From the second to the sixth innings,'' said Farrell, "they were probably more crisp, more sharp. Looking for that to continue to advance."

Rodriguez, too, said he felt better than he did the first time out, when he allowed three runs in just 3 2/3 innings.

"I feel more control of the ball,'' he said. "I feel more comfortable throwing the ball in the game. Physically, I feel fine. I just see how everything goes every day like bullpens, running and everything. I just want to get back as fast as I can. But I want to get back 100 percent, I don't want to get back at 70 percent and go out there and don't do like I normally do."

Rodriguez, of course, has missed the first month of the season after tweaking his knee at the beginning of spring training.

"The first start I made in Pawtucket,'' recalled Rodriguez, ''I was thinking too much on my knee. Every pitch I'm throwing, I'm thinking like 'Don't push too much,' but (Tuesday) night it was every pitch I'm throwing just thinking of the game and not my knee."

After throwing 84 pitches Tuesday night, the Red Sox want him to get his pitch count over 90 in his next outing.

''I think with each outing he's getting, he's gaining more confidence and feeling more maybe natural and free on the mound," Farrell said.