Notes: Rough start forgotten, Sox in first


Notes: Rough start forgotten, Sox in first

By Maureen Mullen

DETROIT The Red Sox started off the season with records of 0-6 and 2-10, mired in the basement of the American League East.

After Fridays win over the Tigers, they have won 12 of their last 14 games with a season-long seven-game win streak. They now lead the A.L. East by 1 12 games after the Yankees' second straight loss in Seattle on Saturday night.

How to explain such vagaries?

I always say that guys usually get to their level, said manager Terry Francona. Sometimes its not the most consistent way, but usually sometimes guys with track records get to their level. Sometimes its the damnedest way. Some guys start out hitting .500. Some guys start out hitting no-hundred. But they usually get there. If you can figure it out, bottle it, well make a lot of money.

Its sort of the same with teams. We started out doing nothing right. Sometimes that happens. Its not a good feeling. Sometimes all the things that go wrong go right, and normally its somewhere in the middle. I do think human emotions play a part. You feel confident about yourself, because the last thing you want to feel, any time doubt is created it doesnt help. The games played by human beings. So theres always going to be that element.

But he has noticed a different vibe around his team recently.

Yeah, and there should be, he said. The thing Ive kind of liked, we have a good enough team where were going to go through some things where we hit that ball . . . Sometimes it goes away and it comes back. But theyve been trying to play the game right: score early and keep after them. I like that.

"When we were 0-6 or 2-10, I was like, 'Okay, this isnt the end of the world.' Its the same thing on the other side, too. We dont want to get too carried away.

Sometimes it takes a while for a team to jell and show its collective personality.

Ive seen this team have a few personalities, myself included, he said. It grows over the course of a season. I dont know if you really know until its over. It doesnt happen on the first day of a season. I can guarantee that.

Bobby Jenks is expected to throw another inning Sunday for Pawtucket as he makes his way back from a biceps strain.

Ryan Kalish (left shoulder labrum) is close to returning to Pawtucket. Francona said Kalish has been out to 120 feet throwing.

In spring training, Jarrod Saltalamacchia worked on a Tony Pena-style squat behind the plate. At 6-feet-4, hes tall for a catcher and the stance helps him to get lower behind the plate, giving the pitchers a lower target. He hasnt completely scrapped that stance, but hasnt used it since early in the season.

Some guys felt more comfortable throwing to the normal stance . . . so I stopped it, he said. Alfredo Aceves likes it, so if I catch him I might do it. But its just a target thing. Thats all I did it for. I wasnt doing it for anything other than giving a low target. Its hard for me to give a low target. But me and bullpen coach Gary Tuck have worked on different things I can do to give a lower target in the stance.

I did it in 08 for the first time and it felt pretty comfortable. It wasnt anything. When guys are on base you obviously dont do it. So, its pretty comfortable.

Asked if he would use it again, Saltalamacchia replied:

I will if I have to have to. Whatever works."

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

McAdam: Price not exactly hitting stride with postseason on horizon

McAdam: Price not exactly hitting stride with postseason on horizon

NEW YORK -- The division title was there for the taking Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. When you've won 11 straight and steamrolled every other team in the division, what's one more?

One too many, apparently.

The Red Sox' 6-4 defeat to the New York Yankees postponed the Champagne party for at least one night. In and of itself, that's not a huge concern. The Sox' magic number remains one with five games to play and the club's epic hot streak had to come to an end eventually.

A better night by either David -- Ortiz or Price -- might have resulted in corks popping and on-field celebrations.

Ortiz was 0-for-5 and stranded a total of seven baserunners. When he came to the plate in the top of the ninth against Tyler Clippard with two outs and two on, it almost seemed scripted.

Here was Ortiz in his final Yankee Stadium series, about to inflict one final bit of misery on the rival Yankees with a three-run homer in the top of the ninth.

Talk about drama. Talk about one more famous, final scene.

Alas, Ortiz took some feeble swings and swung through strike three for the final out. Not even Ortiz, for all his clutch performances, can conjure a game-winner on-demand every time.

A far bigger concern was the work of Price. Perhaps the best thing than can be said of him for now is that he almost certainly will not have to face the Yankees again this season, against whom he's compiled a gaudy 7.89 ERA this season.

More troubling, though, is that Price is not exactly hitting his stride as the postseason appears on the near horizon. In his last three starts combined, Price has pitched 19 1/3 innings and allowed 27 hits and 14 runs.

That isn't the line of someone at peak form at the right time. To the contrary, after a run of outings in which it again appeared Price had figured everything out, he's regressed in his last three.

Most troubling Tuesday was a repeated inability to turn back the Yankees after his team had pulled close on the scoreboard.

Price spotted the Yankees a 3-0 lead, and the Sox finally scored twice in the top of the 6th to close within one at 3-2. But Price quickly gave anther run back in the bottom of the inning.

Then the Sox scored two more times in the seventh to tie things at 4-4. . . but Price gave the two runs right back in the bottom of the inning.

"Very frustrating,'' sighed Price. "It's something I talk about all the time. It's a very big deal. And it's something I feel like I've struggled with this entire year. Whenever you're going good, it's something you're doing very well. And whenever you're going get a lead, give it right back. . . that's tough.''

It also doesn't portend well for the postseason, where Price, as you may have heard, has a spotty track record.

With some strong starts in the final few weeks, he could have reached the playoffs with both momentum and confidence.

Instead, he's got one more start -- Sunday -- to straighten things out.

Ortiz? His postseason bona fides are set.

Price, meanwhile, has no such reservoir of success upon which to draw. And starts like Tuesday's only reinforce the doubts.


Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz goes 0-for-5 in loss to Yankees

Quotes, notes and stars: Ortiz goes 0-for-5 in loss to Yankees

NEW YORK -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 6-4 loss to the Yankees:



"I went 0-for-5 today, so I ain't got (anything) to talk about.'' - David Ortiz after turning around and seeing a small army of reporters waiting for him in front of his locker.

"To have a chance to clinch the division for us here (and come up sort), it's not acceptable. If my offense scores me four runs, I feel like I should be able to go out there and win.'' - David Price.

"The bottom line story to this one was (Price) mislocating within the strike zone.'' - John Farrell.



* Boston's season-best 11-game win streak was snapped with the loss.

* David Price took his first loss since Aug. 7.

* Price is 1-3 with a 7.89 ERA against the Yankees this season.

* Aaron Hill contributed his first pinch-hit homer in his career.

* Mookie Betts saw his streak of reaching base in 38 straight road games stopped.

* Dustin Pedroia posted his third straight multi-hit game.

* For the 20th time this season, Xander Bogaerts enjoyed a three-hit game.

* In his last 12 games, Andrew Benintendi has eight extra-base hits.

* Hill's pinch-hit homer was the third by the Red Sox this month.



1) Tyler Austin

The rookie first baseman snapped a 4-4 tie in the seventh with a two-run homer and also added two more hits in three at-bats.

2) Gary Sanchez

The first-year catcher continues to amaze, hitting his 20th homer in only his 51st game, sending the Yanks out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning.

3) Luis Cessa

Cessa took a big step forward from his last start against the Red Sox by keeping them scoreless through the first five innings before allowing two runs in the sixth.