Red Sox crushed by Rays in series opener, 16-5

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Red Sox crushed by Rays in series opener, 16-5

By SeanMcAdam
CSNNE.com

BOSTON -- Just when it seemed like the Red Sox had turned the corner on their poor start, they reversed field again Monday night and suffered their most lopsided loss of the season -- to the only team who entered the night with a worse record than their own.

The Tampa Bay Rays chased starter Daisuke Matsuzaka with seven runs in the first two innings, and kept adding on against reliever Tim Wakefield, posting a 16-5 victory over the Red Sox.

The defeat dropped the Sox to 2-8, equal with the Rays in the American League East standings.

The 16 runs for Tampa were more than they had scored in all of their nine losses (11) cobined this season. Tampa bashed out 20 hits as five different Rays collected multiple RBIs. Sam Fuld had a career-high four hits, falling a single short of the cycle.

David Ortiz knocked in two runs with a single and sacrfice fly. Adrian Gonzalez (triple), J.D. Drew (single) and Jacoby Ellsbury (solo homer) each accounted for an RBI.

Matsuzaka, 0-2, sports a 12.86 ERA for the season. The Red Sox have just two quality starts in the first 10 games.

STAR OF THE GAME: Sam Fuld
The Cubs castoff banged out a homer, triple and two doubles while knocking in three runs.

Fuld, a New Hampshire native, is one of several players the Rays are looking at to help them replace Carl Crawford in the outfield.

So far this season, Fuld is hitting .324 and has turned in a handful of standout defensive plays, including one last night to rob Dustin Pedroia of a run-scoring double in the third.

HONORABLE MENTION: Johnny Damon
Damon, who did not appear in a game at Fenway last season while with Detroit, returned this season with a vengeance, homering on the first pitch he saw in the top of the first and later adding two more hits and two more RBI.

Prior to his first at-bat, he was greeted with a mixed reception, though a more favorable one than he got as a member of the Yankees. After homering, though, the boos quickly outnumbered the cheers.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Daisuke Matsuzaka
Matsuzaka turned in his second stinker in as many starts this season, blasted for seven runs on eight hits in just two-plus innings.

So far, Matsuzaka's ERA stands at 12.86. With Tim Wakefield, Alfredo Aceves and Felix Doubront waiting in the wings, he can't afford many more starts like that if he wishes to keep his spot in the Boston rotation.

TURNING POINT
Fuld's three-run homer in the second upped the Tampa lead to 7-0 before an out could be recorded in that inning.

BY THE NUMBERS
The Rays managed to score more runs in the first six innings (12) than they had managed to score in their previous nine eight losses combined (11) this season.

QUOTE OF NOTE
"Managers like to see a lot of strikes, but tonight, (Matsuzaka) threw a lot right down the middle of the plate and they squared up a lot of balls in a hurry.'' -- Terry Francona on Daisuke Matsuzaka.

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

McAdam: Red Sox should pass on this Sale

McAdam: Red Sox should pass on this Sale

BOSTON -- I'm not sure what the Red Sox would have to give up for Chicago White Sox starter Chris Sale.

For that matter, I can't say definitively that the two clubs have actually discussed a trade for Chris Sale, though it's logical to assume they have, even in a cursory way.

The White Sox, mired toward the bottom of the A.L. Central and with just one playoff appearance in the last 11 seasons, are said to be "open'' to listening for offers on Sale. That's both their right and their duty.

As for the Red Sox, given that they're a big-market club with plenty of resources and an expectation from a loyal fan base to compete for a championship every season, they're similarly smart to inquire.

Who knows? Maybe the White Sox have had their fill of Sale and ,in a fit of pique, might be desperate enough to take less than full value to rid themselves of a pitcher who's developed into quite the clubhouse lawyer of late.

But my guess is that the White Sox are demanding a lot for Sale. That makes sense, since, beyond his raging sense of entitlement, Sale remains one of the handful of best starters in the game and is under club control for another three seasons after this one.

Whatever the asking price is, however, it's almost certainly too much.

Sure, the addition of Sale might, on paper, make the Red Sox the favorites to win the American League pennant.

Again, on paper. Ask the New York Mets, who owned the best starting rotation in the game when the season began and now sit, uncomfortably, in third place in their own division.

So much for the best-laid plans.

But the focus here is on the cost, however unknown, to obtain Sale.

If obtaining Drew Pomeranz cost the Red Sox Anderson Espinoza, how much more would Sale cost?

Let's assume that the Red Sox consider Yoan Moncada essentially untouchable. That would mean Boston would have to essentially clean out the rest of its prospect inventory. Think: a package like Andrew Benintendi, Rafael Devers and Michael Kopech, and perhaps more.

Or maybe the White Sox want more established young talent, and have their eyes on Mookie Betts and more.

Argue, if you wish, that pitching is more important than offense, but giving up a leadoff man who's shown indications he could become a five-tool superstar? No, thanks.

There's also the matter of need. Unlike at the beginning of the season, the Red Sox can now lay claim to having a rotation in which every one of the five starters gives them a solid chance to win.

Yes, David Price has underperformed in a big way. But that's likely the result of adjusting to Boston and new surroundings. What are the odds that, at 30, Price has almost overnight permanently devolved into a mediocre starter after finishing second in the Cy Young Award voting just last fall?

Steven Wright has emerged as a consistent starter who's under control for the forseeable future. Rick Porcello, though not flashy, is pitching like the Red Sox envisioned he would when they dealt for him a season-and-a-half ago. Eduardo Rodriguez has overcome injury and delivery issues to fufull the promise he showed as a rookie. And Pomeranz could be an afforable middle-of-the-rotation for years to come.

Is Sale better than each one of them right now? Of course, Price included.

But is the Red Sox rotation so troubled that it must upgrade now or else? No. Is their an obvious weak link begging to be immediately replaced? No.

And this is not Chris Sale, free agent. This is Chris Sale, incredibly expensive trade piece.

What if they stripmined their minor-league system for Sale, and didn't win? Then what? What if they tore up their core of foundational players for Sale, only to find him incapable of surviving Boston?

As I confessed earlier, I'm don't know what the White Sox would want for Sale.

What I do know is that it would, by definition, almost certainly be too much.

Quotes, notes and stars: Pomeranz 'made one pitch that hurt' Red Sox

Quotes, notes and stars: Pomeranz 'made one pitch that hurt' Red Sox

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 4-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers:

QUOTES:

"He pitched as we had anticipated at the time of the trade.'' - John Farrell on Drew Pomeranz.

"I had a good curveball and I was locating my fastball a lot better. I was in a lot better counts all night, but I made one pitch that hurt us.'' - Pomeranz on his outing.

"He was able to limit the damage against a very good offensive team. He pitched well enough to win. I just wish we could have put more runs on the board for him.'' - Jackie Bradley Jr. on Pomeranz.

 

NOTES:

* Until Monday night, the Red Sox had won their last six series openers.

* Drew Pomeranz has allowed four or fewer hits in 12 of his 18 starts this season.

* Eleven of Travis Shaw's last 15 hits have been for extra bases.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. had his 25th multi-hit game.

* Sandy Leon is hitting .500 (11-for-22) with runners in scoring position.

* The Red Sox are 21-21 in games decided by two or fewer runs.

* Dustin Pedroia (walk, single) has reached base in 28 straight games.

* Xander Bogaerts has 133 hits through 97 games. Since 1940, only Wade Boggs (134 in 1983; 135 in 1987) and Adrian Gonzalez (135 in 2011) had more.

STARS:

1) Justin Verlander

Verlander has enjoyed a bounce-back season of sorts this year, and the Red Sox got to see it up close Monday night as Verlander limited them a single run over six innings.

2) Jose Iglesias

The former Red Sox shortstop haunted his old team with a two-run homer in the sixth to put the Tigers ahead to stay.

3) Drew Pomeranz

The lefty absorbed the loss, but pitched well enough to win, giving up two runs in six innings while striking out seven.