Notes: Red Sox switch things up versus Price

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Notes: Red Sox switch things up versus Price

By MaureenMullen
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Manager Terry Francona shuffled his lineup to get as many right-handed batters against Rays ace David Price as possible. In his career, lefties are hitting .218 (69-for-316) with one home run against Price, while righties are batting .232 (243-for-1049) with 32 home runs. The one left-handed home run was hit by Chase Utley in 2009. In his career, the Red Sox are hitting .248 (32-for-129) combined with six home runs.

Switch-hitters Led Lowrie and Jason Varitek are playing third and catching, respectively. Mike Cameron is playing center field in place of Jacoby Ellsbury and Darnell McDonald is in right instead of J.D. Drew. Kevin Youkilis is serving as the designated hitter instead of David Ortiz.

Wanted to get about as many right-handed hitters in as we could, Francona said. Weve got Jed Lowrie playing third and Youk DHing just because Jed gives us some versatility or in case something happened we could move him out of the infield.

Saltalamacchia knew a few days ago he would not be catching tonight. His wife delivered their third child at 6:23 this morning. The baby (to be named later) is the third girl for the couple, weighing in at 8 pounds, 4 ounces, and 20 inches long. Saltalamacchia said his wife and daughter are fine, but he was pretty tired after a night of no sleep.

Salty knew two days ago. Francona said. His wife had the baby and he had his hands full. He knew going in he wasnt going to catch tonight."

The move keeps Youkilis bat in the lineup while also giving him a bit of rest.

Thats the hope, Francona said. On a night like tonight Id like to use it to his advantage. He could swing the whole game as much as he wants. It might be good for him and it allows us to free up Lowrie where we could move him around.

Francona had considered using Lowrie at first base and Adrian Gonzalez as the DH.

We went back and forth, he said. One of those guys was going to DH tonight.

Francona had not had a chance to check in with Daisuke Matsuzaka after the right-handers disastrous outing Monday night.

I didn't see him yet, he said. Pitching coach Curt Young will talk to the pitchers every day. The hard thing for me is I can't have a casual conversation with Dice. Its easy to have one with anybody. John Lackey walks into the clubhouse or Jon Lester or whoever. You can't do that with Dice-K besides saying hello. Thats frustrating. That doesnt mean he can't pitch but its hard to have that casual conversation where you can ask, Hey, what are you thinking? Everything has to go through a translator.

Francona said Matsuzaka has been working on his English.

Hes done a good job, Francona said. Hes done a real good job. Its not like Spanish to English where we could all pick a word and kind of fake your way through it a little bit. This is a completely differentNo, hes actually done a real good job. And around the field especially theres a lot that he can understand, which really helps.

He understands. He knows whats going on.

Francona said Matsuzakas latest outing would not change the managers perspective.

He had a horrendous second inning. Francona said. I think if we do do things like that well set ourselves up for some really bad mistakes. It was tough to watch. But if you make decisions based on emotions and after a bad start, we wouldnt have a team left. You cant do that.

Carl Crawford, who entered Tuesdays game hitting .163, said he is not frustrated by his slow start. But, he is disappointed. He went 2-for-5 Monday night, and Francona saw him take good swings in Sundays game, although he went hitless.

I guess itll come together for me when my average gets back over .300, Crawford said. Thats when itll be together. Right now, its still a work in progress.

Im not frustrated by it because its just too early to get frustrated. I know the people watching are frustrated. Im not because I understand whats going on. Im disappointed by it but Im not upset or frustrated. Just have to keep playing it out.

Crawford said he is still adjusting to batting lead-off. He has primarily hit second. Last season, he had not plate appearances in the No. 1 slot.

Im starting to get a little comfortable there, he said. As time goes on Im pretty sure Ill get more comfortable with it, so I can play better.

Its not really an adjustment. Its just like leading off an inning, you have to do that sometimes, so I just treat it like that because really thats the only time you really lead off.

Crawford said he has not considered bunting to get on base yet.

Not really, he said. I might try to bunt maybe if I got comfortable with it. But, I dont know, for the most part I need to try to get my swing right.

Rays left fielder Sam Fuld doesnt even have a Twitter account. But, the legend of Sam Fuld was the talk of Twitterland after his performance Monday night when he went 4-for-6 with three runs scored, three RBI, and a two-run home run. He fell a single shy of the cycle, doubling down the left field line in the ninth inning. He also had a spectacular diving catch off Dustin Pedroia, which made all the highlight shows. Fuld grew up in Durham, NH, and went to Phillips Exeter Academy. He had a group of 25 to 30 family in friends at Fenway to watch his performance.

To have that kind of game setting career highs in hits, RBI, runs scored, and total bases with 11 at Fenway Park was a highlight for him. Fuld, 29, was a 10th-round pick of the Cubs out of Stanford in 2004. He went to the Rays as part of the Matt Garza trade in January.

Its even better, he said. Even if I had gone 0-for-6, I would have been the happiest 0-for-6 player in the game, just to be playing out here. So, combine playing in this great ballpark, that I grew up going to and having a game like that, its been amazing.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter athttp:twitter.commaureenamullen

First impressions: Pomeranz is better, but Red Sox fall to Tigers

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First impressions: Pomeranz is better, but Red Sox fall to Tigers

First impressions from the Red Sox' 4-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers:

 

1) The same problem remains for Joe Kelly

As a starter, no one doubted Kelly's fastball, and the velocity with which he threw it. But the problem was, Kelly's fastball was often quite straight, and most major league hitters can hit a fastball without movement, no matter how hard it's thrown.

In his first appearance as a reliever for the Red Sox, the same problem reared its head.

Kelly started off Justin Upton with a 99 mph fastball. After an 89 mph slider, Kelly next threw a 101 mph fastball.

But Upton drove it on a line to the triangle for a triple, and two batters later, trotted home on a soft flare to center by James McCann.

Velocity is one thing and can produce some swings-and-misses. But ultimately, Kelly is going to need more than straight gas to get hitters out.

 

2) Drew Pomeranz was miles better in his second start

Pomeranz failed to get an out in the fourth inning of his Red Sox debut and was charged with five runs.

So when Pomeranz -- who allowed just one hit through the first three innings Monday night -- allowed a leadoff single to Miguel Cabrera to start the fourth, there was uneasy sense of deja vu at Fenway.

But Pomeranz quickly erased Cabrera on a double play and through five innings had allowed just three hits and a walk.

He got into some trouble in the sixth when he allowed a one-out, two-run homer to Jose Iglesias, erasing what had been a 1-0 Red Sox lead.

But Pomeranz was far sharper than his first outing, threw his curveball for more strikes and kept the Tigers mostly off-balance. His line (6 IP; 4 H; 2 ER; 2 BB; 7 K) will be more than good enough on most nights.

Just not Monday night.

 

3) They may lead MLB in runs scored, but there are still nights when the Red Sox offense can frustrate

It happened last Friday when they loaded the bases with no out against the Twins - and failed to score in a 2-1 loss.

It was more of the same Monday night when the Sox loaded the bases in the ninth -- and managed just one run.

The problems weren't limited to the ninth, of course. The Sox put the leadoff man on in both the seventh and eighth innings -- and didn't score.

For the game, the Sox left 11 men on and were just 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

 

Tanguay: I would give up Mookie Betts for Chris Sale

Tanguay: I would give up Mookie Betts for Chris Sale

Gary Tanguay and Greg Dickerson debate whether they would include Mookie Betts in a trade to get Chris Sale, or if the Boston Red Sox are better with Betts staying despite needing help in their rotation.