By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON The Red Sox offense continued to sputter Wednesday afternoon, as the Sox fell to the Rays, 4-0, in the series finale at Fenway Park.
The Sox could muster just three hits in the game a first-inning single by Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis fourth-inning single, and Jacoby Ellsburys triple leading off the sixth. The Sox had just three hits in each of the three games against the Rays, and just 15 hits over their last four games.
Despite throwing his eighth quality start in his 21st outing this season, John Lackey took the loss, falling to 11-9, while lowering his ERA from 6.13 to 6.02. He went 6 23 innings, giving up four runs, three earned, on seven hits and three walks. He also hit two batters and threw a wild pitch.
Lackey struck out seven and threw a season-high 125 pitches.
Included among the Rays' seven hits were solo home runs by B.J. Upton, leading off the fourth inning, and Evan Longoria, a two-out solo shot on a 3-0 pitch in the fifth.
David Price earned the win, improving to 11-10. He went eight scoreless innings, giving up three hits and three walks with six strikeouts. He threw 116 pitches, 76 for strikes. Kyle Farnsworth pitched a scoreless ninth inning to secure the win. It was the only relief appearance for the Rays in the three games at Fenway.
It was the first time the Sox have been shut out since June 28 in Philadelphia.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen
Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis.
Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time.
The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.
Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball.
Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer. And…
US ambassador to Japan?
Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.
The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons.
When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team."
Would he be interested?
"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.
Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.
Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.