Pedroia 'frustrated' with Sox' performance

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Pedroia 'frustrated' with Sox' performance

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- A year ago, with the Red Sox reeling from another poor start, Dustin Pedroia took it upon himself to draw the line.

Following a humiliating four-game sweep at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays last April, Pedroia called his teammates out on Patriots' Day and famously noted the Sox, at the time, were incapable of beating Brookline High.

On Sunday, after the Red Sox had dropped to 0-3 following a humbling 5-1 loss to Texas, Pedroia again was the most vocal player in the Boston clubhouse.

While others noted that three losses shouldn't be seen as catastrophic and Adrian Gonzalez virtually guaranteed that the Sox would find their way out of their early-season slump and be in contention in September, Pedroia was not as sanguine.

"I think we're all frustrated,'' said Pedroia. "We got outplayed. It's not for lack of talent on our team. We got outpitched, we got outhit. They kicked our butts. That's it. We better show up Tuesday in Cleveland and play better than we've been playing.''

And with that, Pedroia sounded the alarm. He wasn't suggesting that the Red Sox panic -- the worst response a team can have under the circumstances -- and he wasn't suggesting that the Red Sox were lacking effort or focus, as he did last April.

But he was saying that what happened at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington this weekend, where the Sox were outclassed by a cumulative score of 26-11, was, in a word, unacceptable.

Pedroia was careful to point out that the Rangers deserve some credit. He noted that Texas was the defending American League champs and their display of muscle -- 11 homers in three games -- was hardly a shock to anyone.

But he wasn't dismissing the results as unimportant or suggesting that the Red Sox don't have improve their play -- and fast.

"We want to play well,'' he said. "We're not excited about how we played the first three games . . . They came out and put it on us. We're going to have to play a lot better than that to accomplish what we all think we can do.''

As good a player as Pedroia is, this refusal to accept anything less than the best may be his most important attribute.

Baseball is the wrong sport in which to overreact. The season is long and highs and lows are part of the 162-game landscape. Woe is the team which fails to keep an even emotional keel from April through the end of September.

But it never hurts to have a player of Pedroia's caliber speak out when the results aren't what was expected. And after adding two premier players in the offseason to an already talented roster, coming out of gate 0-3 was far from what was expected of the 2011 Red Sox.

He dismissed a question about whether the Sox had suffered through a similar three-game stretch in 20010 as irrelevant.

"We've got a different team,'' said Pedroia flatly. "This isn't last year, so we're turning the page on last year. But I'll tell you what, man - this is a pretty bad three-game stretch right now. So we're going to have to get our stuff together and come out and play well.''

Cleveland would seem to be the right place to start. The Indians are, to be frank, horrendous. On Friday, they were the only pitching staff performing worse than the Red Sox themselves, allowing the White Sox a 14-0 head start before scoring their first runs of 2011.

But it won't be handed to the Red Sox. They'll need to stop leaving fastballs over the middle of the plate, practically inviting the batting practice that the Rangers took. And while they're at it, they'll need to put together better at-bats, with an emphasis on approach and not on overly aggressive free swinging.

Gonzalez and others are right, of course: a three-game sweep has not eliminated the Red Sox from contention. The 1998 New York Yankees, to cite one example, began 0-3 and went on to win 114 games.

Still, a turnaround series in Cleveland prior to coming home for a 10-game homestand against three division rivals would go a long way in pointing the Red Sox in the right direction.

"We're not very happy with the series,'' said Terry Francona. "That's an understatement. But I think there's a difference between being aggravated at a series as opposed to sitting around and panicking.

"We didn't play a very good series. We got outplayed all the way around. Now we've got to go regroup and try to get us a win so we feel better about ourselves.''

Beginning Tuesday, if they know what's good for them.

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

Quotes, notes and stars: Ziegler 'a Godsend' for Red Sox bullpen

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Quotes, notes and stars: Ziegler 'a Godsend' for Red Sox bullpen

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Minnesota Twins:

 
QUOTES

“We’ve come off a couple of days where we’re a pitch away or a swing of the bat away from being in a spot where we’re possibly looking at four consecutive in this series. But to pressed as we were -- give them credit they didn’t give in. They kept coming back -- they mounted some threats late.” - John Farrell said on the Red Sox the third consecutive in which they’d blown the lead.

“He’s been a Godsend to be honest. It’s a comfortable inning. The ball’s on the ground . . . He’s very calm, he’s experienced it . . . His addition here has given us a huge boost in line with the injuries to Koji [Uehara] and Craig [Kimbrel]” -  Farrell said on having Ziegler as an option.

“I’ll be honest, I get nervous when I’m watching, sixth, seventh, eighth inning of the game. I’ve picked my fingernails down too low one night. It’s a lot easier for me when I’m on the mound.” - Ziegler on dealing with his adrenaline and excitement when entering a game.

“That’s baseball. I mean, over the course of 162 games those sort of things are going to happen and you just keep battling and doing your job.” - Rick Porcello said about things not going entirely his way, despite feeling good on the mound.

“Yes. Because he threw me a changeup first pitch in my first at-bat. Sometimes you guess right.” - Hanley Ramirez said on why he was expecting a changeup from Tommy Milone that he turned into a three-run home run in the third inning

“I even didn’t know -- to be honest – that he threw over. When I was halfway I think I didn’t see like the catcher get up to throw the ball or anything so I figured maybe he threw to first. Once I saw Dozier catch it [one] way, I tried to [go] the other way. ” - Xander Bogaerts on avoiding the tag when he stole second in the fifth.

 

NOTES

* Xander Bogaerts finished 3-for-4 and has had multiple hits in nine of his last 11 contests. He leads MLB with 17 three-hit games.

* The Red Sox have now homered in 15 straight games, slugging 28 in that span.

* Hanley Ramirez has five home runs in his last five games, eight in his last 23. Over those 23 games, Ramirez is batting .337 (28-for-83) with 18 runs, seven doubles and 21 RBI to go with the eight homers.

* Three of Travis Shaw’s last four hits have been for extra bases -- 10 of his last 14 -- with the most recent being his three-run homerun Sunday. Shaw has also homered in four the last five series.

* Rick Porcello has won seven straight decisions and now has ten wins at home -- remaining undefeated at Fenway Park.

 

STARS

1) Hanley Ramirez

Ramirez slugged his fifth home run in his last five games, knocking in three runs. Sunday's DH finished 2-for-4 and scored two runs in the game.

2) Juan Centeno

Minnesota’s catcher finished 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI in the losing effort

3) Rick Porcello

Despite giving up five runs (four earned) in his 6.2 inning of work, Porcello did what he needed to do to keep Boston in the lead. Had it not been for some shaky fielding, Porcello’s numbers might have been a better representation of how he looked and felt.

Kimbrel's knee 'feels great,' pushing himself towards return

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Kimbrel's knee 'feels great,' pushing himself towards return

BOSTON -- Just before the All-Star break, it almost seemed like the Red Sox were bound to lose Craig Kimbrel for six weeks potentially with the knee damage.

However, prior to Saturday’s game, John Farrell sounded optimistic about Kimbrel return more towards the three-week timetable.

The closer has gotten back to what he was working on prior to his injury, including his breaking ball.

“I’m out there spinning the ball right now,” Kimbrel said. “My knee feels great, so I’m just working on getting back into my mechanics. Staying compact and before I hurt my knee I was working on a few things. Just getting back to focusing on [those things].”

Kimbrel also stated that his arm “feels great” which was originally a concern for the Red Sox Front Office when he was injured -- fearing the knee would somehow lead to arm problems later.

Although things seem to almost be moving too fast for Kimbrel, he feels like the process has taken too long.

“It may look like a pretty fast recovery but it feels like forever,” Kimbrel said. “I think the way some people may look at it, it might be a little fast, but I’m not doing anything that is uncomfortable. I’m pushing myself, but I’m not pushing myself to a point where it doesn’t feel good. Testing everything out, that’s kind of where it is.

“Went in there and we didn’t really fix anything. Just kind of cut some cartilage out and right now it’s [about] getting my muscles firing like they’re supposed to. That’s coming back pretty fast because we were able to keep the swelling down right after surgery, so I was able to get back into the weight room and get back to the range of motion pretty quick.”

The righty will throw his first bullpen since the surgery and his confident he’ll feel good on the mound.

In fact, he thinks he could’ve thrown off the mound Sunday, but still hasn’t tested one important responsibility of a pitcher.

“I think I could throw off the mound,” Kimbrel said. “I don’t know if I can run in from the bullpen yet. Tomorrow we’re going to get off the mound, throw a bullpen and then can start pushing off and running.

“Fielding my position and cutting -- things like that. The kind of things where if a guy bunts on me [or] if I’ve gotta cover first -- I’ve gotta be able to do things like that.”