Rain costs Bedard first win with Sox

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Rain costs Bedard first win with Sox

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
BOSTON -- You could say Erik Bedards bid at his first win with the Red Sox went down the drain.

Or it was washed out.

Any precipitation-related phrase you like will do the trick.

In spite of striking out five and giving up just two hits in four scoreless innings, Bedard ended up with a no decision (his third with the Red Sox) after Game 2 of the Red Sox-Athletics doubleheader was halted for a one-hour rain delay, a result of weather conditions caused by Hurricane Irene.

He remains 0-2 in five starts with the Red Sox (4-9, 3.45 for the season).

You always want wins, but as long as the team wins thats the good part, he said following the Red Sox 4-0 victory. But its coming. Eventually Ill get one.

Bedard was just outs away from capturing his first win since June 15, which came as a member of the Seattle Mariners. But mother nature was not as accommodating, and heavy downpours put his plans for a W on hold.

You just try to pray to God that the rain stays away so you can finish at least three more outs and have a decision, but we won the game so thats the bottom line, he said, adding, Deep down youre like, Just put it in play so we can get an out or get it over with, but stuff like that happens and thats that.

Terry Francona noted Bedard had a sore knee, which the pitcher said warmed up and settled down, and though he pitched well as the game went on.

He struggled, especially early, first couple of innings I think he ended up with four walks, said Francona. The good news is he wiggled out of it and stuff was pretty good. He can pitch. He just had trouble commanding, especially early.

Once the game resumed, Alfredo Aceves took the mound and pitched three scoreless innings with three strikeouts and no hits. He picked up the win, improving to 9-1 (2.86 ERA), and earned praise for performing in less-than-ideal conditions.

He pitched well again, and under the circumstances, with a rain delay, a runner on base, guy in the middle of the count, and continues to put up zeroes and sets up not only the game but the rest of the bullpen, tremendous, said Francona.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia echoed, The guy hes a competitor. Hes passionate about the game so hes been a great asset to the team. Hes gone out there and whatever day you want him to pitch, he pitches.

Even though Bedard did not get the win, he was happy to have such a strong bullpen behind him. Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings, respectively.

When you only go four and then you have the bullpen shut it down for the rest of the game, thats awesome, he said. Aceves went three innings and I dont even know if he gave up a hit. Then youve got Bard and Pap, it makes it easier on the starters when the reliever can do that.

The start of Game 2 of the doubleheader was delayed one hour and 52 minutes due to the length of Game 1. There was a one-hour delay during Game 2 in the fifth inning.

David Ortiz extended his hitting streak to 12 games. He went 3-for-4 with a two-run blast in Game 2.

Saltalamacchia (2-4, 2B) has six extra-base hits in his last seven games.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comJCameratoNBA

Bogaerts continues to battle through struggles with bat

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Bogaerts continues to battle through struggles with bat

BOSTON -- Early in 2016 praises, were sung around the league that Xander Bogaerts was the best hitter in baseball.

Rightfully so. For a good portion of the season he led the league in both batting average and hits. But between Mookie Betts’ ascension and Bogaerts’ drop in average from .331 on 7/29 to .306 after Monday night’s game, he’s taken a back seat.

But the Red Sox shortstop’s month-long dry spell hasn’t been a straight decline. Although he was held hitless Monday, Bogaerts went 6-for-13 (.462) against Kansas City.

In fact, the 23-year-old doesn’t even consider the recent month of struggles the worst stretch of his career.

“2014 probably,” Bogaerts said, “yeah I had a terrible, terrible few months -- probably three months.”

That was of course the season a lot came into question surrounding the now All-Star shortstop, so he was pretty spot on. In 2014 Bogaerts went from hitting .304 through 5/31, to .248 by the end of June, .244 after his last game in July, all the way down to .224 by the last day of August.

Bogaerts would hit .313 that September and finish with a .240 average -- but more importantly, an appreciation of what he’d experienced.

“That definitely helped me become a better person, a better player -- and understanding from that and learning,” Bogaerts said.

From that experience, he gained a better understanding of the importance of maintaining a consistent day-to-day routine.

“That has to stay the same,” Bogaerts said without question in his voice. “The league adjusted, they adjusted to me. It kind of took a longer time to adjust to them. They’ve just been pitching me so differently compared to other years.”

Bogaerts has had the point reinforced to him throughout, with Red Sox assistant hitting coach Victor Rodriguez serving as one voice of reinforcement.

“When you have a routine from the mental side, physical side, when you struggle that’s when you really need that,” Rodriguez said. “He’s been so good with his daily preparation, it doesn’t matter the result of the game. He can always go to something that feels comfortable.”

“He’s been so comfortable and confident with his daily routine and preparation that it allows him -- when he doesn’t get the results he wants in the game -- to have some peace knowing that the next day, we’re going to go back to doing that again.”

It’s clear Bogaerts needs to maintain his daily routine to help work through slumps -- and maintain hot streaks -- but Rodriguez made it clear, consistent preparation from a hitter doesn’t magically cure every problem.

“That doesn’t mean that because you stick with the routine you’re going to have results,” Rodriguez said. “What it means is, [because] you know and believe in that routine that you know you’re going to get out of it.”

Which means in addition to sticking to his normal routine, Bogaerts also had to identify flaws elsewhere in order work through his problems. He came to realize the problem was more mechanically based than mental -- given he’d done everything to address that.

“They pitched me differently, and some stuff I wanted to do with the ball I couldn’t do,” Bogaerts said. “I just continued doing it until I had to make the adjustment back.”

Bogaerts isn’t fully out of the dark, but he’s taken steps in the right direction of late -- and is nowhere near the skid he experienced in 2014. He and Rodriguez fully believe the All-Star’s ability to maintain a clear mind will carry him through whatever troubles he’s presented with the rest of the way.

“The more stuff you have in you’re head is probably not going to help your chances,” Bogaerts explained, “so have a clear mind -- but also have the trust in your swing that you’re going to put a good swing on [the pitch] regardless of whatever the count is.”

Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter @ngfriar.

Quotes, notes and stars: Porcello 'the model of consistency'

Quotes, notes and stars: Porcello 'the model of consistency'

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 9-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays

 

QUOTES:

"Rick has been the model of consistency.'' - John Farrell on starter Rick Porcello

"It means that we have a heck of a team, really. The runs we put up, and I don't think anybody talks about our defense.'' - Porcello, asked about the significance of being baseball's first 18-game winner.

"It's cool to be a part of that, but we're in a race right now and that's way more important.'' - Mookie Betts on the crowd chants of "MVP!" during his at-bat.

 

NOTES

* Hanley Ramirez has nine extra-base hit in the last 15 games.

* Opposing baserunners have stolen only 54 percent of the time when Sandy Leon is behind the plate, the lowest figure for any Red Sox catcher (minimum 20 games) since 1987

* Brock Holt tied a season high with three hits, including two with two outs and runners in scoring position.

* Mookie Betts set a career high with 72 extra-base hits.

* Betts became the third player in franchise history to have a 30-homer season before the age of 24. Ted Williams and Tony Conigliaro are the others.

* Betts has five homers and 13 RBI in his last five home games.

* Rick Porcello is just the fifth major league pitcher since 1913 to begin a season 13-0 at home

* Porcello is the third Red Sox pitcher to win 18 of his first 21 decisions after Cy Young (1902) and Daisuke Matsuzaka (2008)

* David Ortiz leads the majors in doubles, slugging percentage and OPS.

 

STARS:

1) Rick Porcello

The righthander became the first 18-game winner in the big leagues and he did it by supplying seven innings for the sixth straight start while improving to 13-0 at home.

2) Mookie Betts

Betts gave the Red Sox an early lead with his 30th homer of the year, becoming the third player in franchise history to reach that milestone before the age of 24.

3) Travis Shaw

Shaw broke out of a month-long slump with a three-hit game, including a double, to go along with two RBI.