Notes: Red Sox still not scoring for Beckett

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Notes: Red Sox still not scoring for Beckett

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
HOUSTON -- Every year -- or so it seems -- one starting pitcher in a rotation is the victim of poor run support. When anyone else starts, the runs pile up; when the tough-luck guy takes the mound, however, the offense suddenly dries up.

This year, Josh Beckett is that guy for the Red Sox.

Despite an ERA of 2.20, and 11 quality starts in his first 15 outings, Beckett had just six wins before yesterday. The team was averaging 3.58 runs per outing for him, compared to 7.34 for Jon Lester, 6.30 for John Lackey and 6.16 for Tim Wakefield. Only Clay Buchholz (4.03) was close to Beckett when it came to poor backing.

For eight innings, it looked like Beckett was going to be left with a no decision, despite limiting the Houston Astros to a single run.

The Sox left the bases loaded twice and stranded eight baserunners from the third through the fifth. For the game, they were just 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

But then, in the ninth, came a breakthrough of sorts.

With the bases loaded, Kevin Youkilis drew a bases-loaded walk, forcing in the go-ahead run and giving Beckett his 7th win in a 2-1 victory.

"We like to score runs every night for every pitcher,'' said Youkilis. "And it works vice versa sometimes -- some guys have bad outings when we hit the ball well, so...It's a collective team effort; it's not an individual thing. I don't think the pitchers look at that, either.

"Sometimes, they're going to throw bad and not get any runs scored for them. Sometimes, they're not going to get any scored for them. That's stuff that's out of control and out of their control. All we can do is go out there everyday and do our job. But it was nice to get the 'W' there for him.''

Sunday marked the second time in the last three Josh Beckett starts in which the opposition intentionally walked Adrian Gonzalez in the late innings to get to Youkilis.

Both times Youkilis foiled the strategy.

On June 15 in St. Petersburg, FL, the Tampa Bay Rays walked Gonzalez with one out and a runner on third to set up a potential double play. Youkilis then hit a three-run homer off Jeremy Hellickson to account for the only runs in a 3-0 win over Tampa.

Sunday, his at-bat was a little less dramatic, but still led to a victory.

With runners at first-and-third, the Astros elected to walk Gonzalez to load the bases. But then Mark Melancon couldn't find the plate and walked Youkilis on a 3-and-1 pitch to force in pinch-runner Drew Sutton with the go-ahead run.

''When the guy in front of you is hitting .350 with 70-something RBI, it's expected,'' said Youkilis. "I love the challenge, I love going up there and I want to be the guy to bring the run home.''

The Red Sox have reached agreement with at least five international free agents, two industry sources confirmed, including 16-year-oldOF Manuel Marcos from the Dominican Republic who was widely seen as one of the best Latin prospects.

Saturday was the first day that teams could sign players from outside the U.S. and Canada who were 16 years or older. Players from Caribbean countries like the Dominican Republic are not eligible for baseball's entry draft.

The Sox outbid the Yankees -- among others -- for Marcos, who projects as a center fielder.

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

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis. 

Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time. 

The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.

Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball. 

 

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team." 

Would he be interested?

"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.