Pedroia insists: 'We're happy as expletive'

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Pedroia insists: 'We're happy as expletive'

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON The Rays came to Fenway Park on Thursday trailing the Red Sox by four games in the American League wild-card race. For the Red Sox, it represented an opportunity to open some distance between themselves and Tampa Bay, and to prove they deserved a playoff spot.

They failed on all fronts.

Tim Wakefield, just one start after earning his 200th career win, was the latest Sox starter to fall victim to the Rays aggressive lineup, as Tampa Bay beat the Sox, 8-5, Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Rays took three of four games this weekend. They also took the season series, 12-6, winning 9 of the last 10 games.

The Rays scored first in each of the four games this weekend, just as they did in 14 of 18 games in the season series, including the last 10 straight and 12 of the last 13. On Sunday, the Rays built a 4-0 lead before the Sox could get on the scoreboard.

Wakefield went five innings, giving up six runs (two earned) on six hits and a walk with five strikeouts. He also had a wild pitch and hit a batter. He threw 103 pitches, 65 for strikes.

Not a lot of clean innings, said manager Terry Francona. You look at a hundred pitches after five . . . it signifies that it's hard. Just never got in a real good rhythm. Threw some real good knuckleballs. You see catcher Jarod Saltalamacchia having trouble catching it, but Wakefield seemed to be working out of the stretch a lot.

It doesnt help. Stating the obvious. But thats what happens sometimes when Wakes pitching. You kind of have to be a little patient when he gets a strikeout and it goes back to the backstop allowing the batter to reach. Tough way to start the inning but thats the way it goes. Try to find a way to not let it affect the outcome of the game.

Saltalamacchia had a career-high four passed balls.

It was real tough, Saltalamacchia said. I think the wind might have played a little factor on the ball the way it was moving. I thought his ball was moving a lot. But no excuse. You got to do the best you can with it. I never gave in. I felt like I just gave it the best job I can give. We just got to go out there and turn the page and go for tomorrow.

In the Rays' three-run second inning, Casey Kotchman led off by striking out, but reached first base on a passed ball. In Tampas two-run fifth, Desmond Jennings led off with a single, then moving around the bases to score on a stolen base, wild pitch, and passed ball on three consecutive pitches.

Meanwhile, the Sox had just one hit off Rays' starter David Price through the first three innings a Mike Aviles double in the first. But it was Aviles liner off the Prices upper right chest in the third that went for a 1-5-3 out that knocked the Rays left-hander from the game after four innings for precautionary reasons. The Sox had just two runs on three hits and three walks with two strikeouts off Price.

Price was not in the game long enough to earn the win, which went to Jake McGee.

The lost weekend was a combined effort or lack thereof. Other than Josh Becketts win on Friday, Sox starters went a combined 15 innings, giving up 14 runs (10 earned) on up 14 hits, 7 walks, 2 wild pitches, and a hit batter with 2 home runs and 11 strikeouts in the series, for 6.00 ERA.

But it wasnt just the pitching that failed to show for the Sox. The Rays outscored the Sox, 24-14 in the series. The Sox hit just .233 (30-for-129). This season, Rays pitchers held Sox batters to a .178 average (89-for-501). The mark replaces the Sox previous low against an opponent since 1966 (with a minimum of 10 games) when they hit .204 against Baltimore. The Rays have held the Sox to a .162 average (30-for-185) at Fenway this season, also a new low.

I think we know the situation were in, said Saltalamacchia. I think we know what type of team we got. Just seemed like in this series, no breaks really went out way. But we got to turn the page and worry about tomorrow.

The Sox entered September with a record of 83-52, with a 1 12-game lead over the Yankees in the division. The have gone 4-13 since then. They are 2-9 in their last 11 games and 3-11 in their last 14.

Its been frustrating for all of us in here, Wakefield said. We just need to play better baseball. Its staying the obvious that were not playing very well right now. But we got two tomorrow against Baltimore and hopefully we can gain two.

Things happen, man, you know, David Ortiz said. You get caught into this sometimes and you got to find your way up. We need to find out way up. That's it.

The Sox insist the mood in the clubhouse is good, the team is confident, no one is panicking.

Not me, Ortiz said. We could win and pretty much everybody around here feels the same. Got to come back and play better, man.

Were happy as expletive, said Dustin Pedroia, who went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts Sunday. We got a two-game lead with 10 to go. Were ready to go. We just havent played very good. Thats basically it. Were not going to sit back and feel sorry for ourselves for playing like crap. We got to go. Nobodys going to give us anything.

While the Rays head to New York to face the Yankees, the Sox will host the last-place Orioles for four games, including Mondays doubleheader. The Sox face 7 of their final 10 games of the regular season against the Os, who have suddenly become players in the wild-card and A.L. West races after taking two of three from the Rays at the beginning of the week and two of three from the Angels.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox make 'outstanding comeback' vs. Rangers

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Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox make 'outstanding comeback' vs. Rangers

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

QUOTES

* “(Matt) Bush has tremendous arm, but what we’ve seen . . . I don’t know that there’s anyone that throws a hard enough to get it by Mookie [Betts]. Just lightening bat speed . . . The dugout erupted when he caught it.” - Farrell said on Betts’ ninth inning homerun.

* “It was an outstanding comeback. Just a tremendous character win tonight by our guys. The work that our bullpen did tonight was just outstanding. ” - John Farrell said following the comeback win over Texas.

* “Koji comes back after a couple of rough outings and was vintage Koji here tonight.” - Farrell said on Uehara striking out the side in the ninth to earn the save

* “The homerun. Without that homerun, you don’t get to that wild pitch.” - Jackie Bradley said on what the Red Sox dugout was more excited about in the ninth.

* “Winning, to me that’s everything. I definitely want to go out there and throw the baseball better. I want to win myself. But at the end of the day I want the Red Sox to win.” - David Price said following the Red Sox win, despite his inability to keep the game close throughout the duration of his start.

NOTES

* David Ortiz extended his hitting streak to 10 games with his fourth inning single. He’s now 12 for his last 36 during his 10-game hitting streak.

* Sandy Leon’s ninth inning double was his 12th hit of the year. He’s now 12-for-22 (.545) to start his 2016 campaign. Four of his hits are doubles and he also has four RBI. 

* David Price’s 2.1-inning start is his shortest with Boston yet. The lefty gave up a season-worst 12 hits -- the most hits he’s given up since May 8th last season in a 6.1 inning start.

* Hanley Ramirez’s two-run homerun marks his third in the last ten games.

* The Red Sox improve to 22-3 when Jackie Bradley Jr. hits a homerun following his 13th homerun of the season.

STARS

1) Mookie Betts

Betts had over three hours between his two base hits, but his second proved the most important. He launched a 2-0 fastball into left center, tying the game in the ninth.

2) Jackie Bradley Jr.

Bradley laced a homerun into the right field second deck to put Boston in striking distance at 7-4. In addition to knocking in two runs, he scored in the ninth after he walked, starting the ninth inning comeback. 

3) Koji Uehara

Despite struggling of late, Uehara was called on to close and struck out the side to seal the win. He was the final piece of the 6.2 innings of relief from the bullpen that came in one of Boston’s biggest wins of the year.

Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar

First impressions of the Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Rangers

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First impressions of the Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Rangers

First impressions of the Boston Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Texas Rangers:

Boston’s offense is always in striking distance.

The Red Sox had an uphill battle from the get-go thanks to David Price’s tough outing.

But somehow they took advantage of Texas’ equally bad pitching—that just happened to be more spread out than Boston’s bad pitching.

If Jackie Bradley Jr. doesn’t earn a walk, or Sandy Leon doesn’t fight tooth and nail for a two-out double in the ninth, that Mookie Betts homerun can’t happen.

The Red Sox need another long outing from Steven Wright.

Obviously they’d prefer a strong performance -- but the knuckler may need to bite the bullet if he’s off Saturday night.

Boston’s bullpen has been used and abused of late, and needs some rest following the Chicago series and a 2.1 inning outing from Price.

Price continues to struggle against the Rangers in his career.

Even when he was able to walk out of the first with just the one run after a bases loaded double play, but couldn’t clamp down with two outs.

The biggest reason he struggled wasn’t his velocity—although it seemed down most of the night—but his location. He left a lot of pitches up in the zone and Texas is not the team you can do that with.

Although Price was bound to have a rough start, this start went worse than anyone could’ve anticipated. To say this was a bad start is putting it nicely.

Texas gave him a nice wake-up call. He still has room to grow.

Matt Barnes had a solid performance.

It wasn’t his best, but given the situation, he did well. First off, the Rangers are a very hot team and swing early in the count. Barnes left the ball up time after times, but only surrendered the one run.

Additionally, he entered the game far earlier than he’s used to -- in the midst of a blowout where his team was on the wrong end. That’s not an easy thing to walk into for a reliever, especially one who’s used to pitching late in tight ballgames.

He gave Boston a chance when the offense started to gain momentum.

Hanley Ramirez’s power continues to show.

Although he’s not hitting at the rate he did to start the year, Ramirez laced another homer against the Rangers Friday night.

This homerun may have been his most impressive, coming on a 1-2 slider away, driving it to straightaway center -- the deepest part of the ballpark.

Boston just saw what they look like when they almost blow games.

All season the talk around the league has been how explosive the Red Sox lineup is.

Well, the Rangers offense is right there with them. The league’s hottest team didn’t waist any time scoring, and had 15 hits before Boston pitching recorded an out in the fifth inning.

Although the Red Sox outslugged Texas late, they saw what a potent offense outside the AL East can do -- and how bad pitching can undo all of that.

Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar